Letter from 15 Brazilian NGOs to the Prime Minister of India
Dr. Manmohan Singh
Hon'ble Prime Minister of India
The Prime Minister's Office
South Block, Raisina Hill
February 16th 2007
Dear Prime Minister,
We write to you on behalf of the Working Group on Intellectual Property (GTPI) from the Brazilian Network for the Integration of Peoples (REBRIP). The GTPI is a national network composed of organizations involved with HIV/Aids, human rights, consumer's rights and also academic research in Brazil. We have been fighting for wide and sustainable access to essential medicines and we have seen how the current patent system has negative impact on the price of medicines and, consequently, on the sustainability of access to medicines programs in our country.
We would like to express our grave concern over Novartis' legal action in the Chennai High Court to challenge critical public health safeguard of Indian law.
We consider the new Indian Patent Act, enforced since 2005, as being totally compliant with the TRIPS Agreement of the World Trade Organization and we believe that the provisions included in the Indian Patent Act to avoid the granting of improper patents show the deep concern of your government and parliament with public health issues.
It is unacceptable that a transnational pharmaceutical company demands to modify national rules, created in completely conformity with international trade agreements. This attitude reveals company's interest in only optimizes profits instead of protecting people's lives.
We have already urged Novartis to drop its legal challenge against the Indian Government, and through the present letter, we ask you and your government to do everything in your power to defend and maintain the safeguards contained in the Indian Patent Act so that access to medicines for Indian people and other developing country populations that rely on Indian generics can proceed and the right to health is maintained.
In Brazil, the strong social mobilization made universal access to pharmaceutical treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS a reality. The absence of patents made it possible for Brazil to produce generic versions of nearly all first-line drugs. Nevertheless, patenting of newer drugs brought prices up and are preventing local production. We believe everyone should have the right to health and the right to access to medicines, and if Novartis were successful in its challenge against your government, it would be a terrible precedent for the whole of the developing world.
We also would like to express our solidarity with those groups of civil society fighting in India in order to guarantee the right to health, especially the right to access to medicines.
Associação Brasileira Interdisciplinar de Aids (ABIA)
Av. Presidente Vargas, 446/13º andar - Centro
Rio de Janeiro/RJ - Cep: 20071-907
Tel: (21) 2223-1040 - Fax: (21) 2253-8495
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org -
Grupo de Incentivo à Vida (GIV)
Instituto Brasileiro de Defesa do Consumidor (Idec)
Conectas Direitos Humanos
Grupo Pela Vidda, São Paulo
Bem-Estar Familiar no Brasil (BEMFAM)
Instituto Patrícia Galvão
Fórum Amazonense de OSC/Aids
Grupo de Resistência Asa Branca (GRAB)
Rede Nacional de Pessoas Vivendo com HIV/Aids, Núcleo Ceará
Grupo Pela Vidda, Rio de Janeiro
Ecos - Comunicação em Sexualidade
Associação Brasileira Terras dos Homens
Koinonia Presença Ecumênica e Serviço
Grupo de Apoio à Prevenção da Aids, Sergipe (GAPA-SE)
Dr Anbumani Ramadoss
Hon'ble Minster of Health and Family Welfare
Nirman Bhavan, Maulana Azad Road
New Delhi 110011
Tel: 91-11-23061751; Fax: 91-11-23062358
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
New Delhi 110011
Sri Kamal Nath
Hon'ble Minster of Commerce & Industry
Room No. 45, Udyog Bhavan
Tel: 91-11-23061008, Fax: 91-11-23062947
Mr. T.C. James
Deputy Secretary to the Government of India
Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion
Room No. 259, Udyog Bhavan
New Delhi 110011
Te: 91-11-23061957 Fax: 91-11-23061919
Mrs. Sonia Gandhi
Indian National Congress Party
& Member of Parliament
New Delhi 110 001
Tel: 91-11-23014161 Fax: 91-11-23018646