Trade deal leak raises alarm over access to generic medicines

A leaked draft agreement between India and the European Free Trade Association has sparked concerns over access to affordable generic medicines. The agreement, which is expected to be concluded by April, proposes changes to India’s patent and regulatory laws, including granting six years of data exclusivity to drug manufacturers. This would give brand-name drugmakers an extended monopoly and prevent India’s National Drug Regulatory Authority from authorizing generic rivals. Civil society and patient advocacy groups are worried that this deal would delay access to newer, life-saving medicines. Although the agreement only involves India and the EFTA, the implications would be widespread.

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