We've pointed out similar things before, but Oxfam has come out with a new report, claiming that the claims from developed nations about the need to fight "fake drugs," is quite frequently really just an excuse to protect big pharma firms
from generic competition. No one is denying that actual fake
drugs can potentially be harmful. But, the problem is that the various efforts, including ACTA, to deal with the issue often lump together actual dangerous fake pharmaceuticals with drugs that are simply cheaper but perfectly safe. Oxfam would like to see a legitimate
strategy for getting the real fake drugs out of the market, but says the current strategies are all about boosting patent protections, increasing prices for the poor and developing nations and better protecting big pharma against upstart competitors.
The European Union and the United States continue to focus almost exclusively on eliminating counterfeit medicines which form only a small part of this public health problem -- but which are a serious concern for their multinational companies. They have used the crisis in medicine quality in developing countries as an excuse to push for new intellectual property rules that will boost the profits of pharmaceutical giants at the expense of affordable medicines for the poor.
Of course, this becomes important when you realize that ACTA was specifically designed
to pressure developing nations into adopting these types of new, more stringent patent and copyright laws. Oxfam is hoping that those countries won't be bullied
At a time when poor countries struggle to ensure that their populations can get affordable, quality medicines it is outrageous that rich countries and drug companies are pushing 'solutions' that will do more harm than good to patients and public health. It is critical that poor countries ignore rich-country pressure, and focus instead on solutions that will ensure both quality and affordability of medicines.