Action Alert - Patent Bill is introduced with NO change

Affordable Medicines and Treatment Campaign (AMTC), ACT UP Paris, Alternative Law Forum, and Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF)
March 19, 2005

On Friday, 18 March, the Government introduced the Patent Bill in the Lok Sabha, despite the overwhelming voices of objection from opposing parties being in the majority. (See "New Patents Bill introduced amid protests," The Hindu, Mar 3, 2005.)

The Bill replicates the original Amendment which had been passed in the Ordinance. Newspaper reports confirm that the Government is negotiating with political parties, in particular with the left parties, to obtain changes to the Bill. However, information we are receiving indicates that offers by the Government to amend the Bill are merely cosmetic and far from satisfactory in terms of protecting and ensuring the public's future ability to access affordable medicines and healthcare. (See "Left Amendments Accepted," The Hindu, Mar 3, 2005.)

It is imperative that parties and groups negotiating with the Government do not compromise on any of the amendments that have been sought to the Bill and immediately urge that negotiations are made transparent and a full opportunity for all groups to discuss the Bill is allowed, ideally through a select committee.

Therefore, as a matter of urgency, we call up on all groups to express their concerns by contacting the following political parties/politicians by email, fax or telephone, details of which are attached. A sample letter to raise your concerns to the politicians/political parties, which you may copy and paste, is attached.

Thank you for your continued support.

Affordable Medicines and treatment Campaign(AMTC), ACT UP Paris, Alternative Law Forum, Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF)


Dear Sir

Introduction of the Patent Bill

Following the introduction of the Patent Bill in the identical form that it was passed in the Ordinance, we implore you to ensure that the amendments to the Patent Bill which we have been calling for are not compromised in any way or form. We understand the Government is in negotiations with the Left parties and is offering concessions to amend the Bill, but we believe that such concessions are merely cosmetic. For the sake of public interest and affordable medicine and healthcare in India and other countries around the world, there can be no compromise of the following points:

We ask that you realise the importance and effect of compromising on any of the above and trust that you will support the need to have a full transparent discussion, namely through the select committee process, on the Patent Bill in order to achieve the above.

Yours sincerely

[Name of organisation]

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