WHO raps EU for seizing generic drug shipments from India

20th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

The World Health Organization on Thursday rapped the European Union for seizing Indian generic drugs in transit for patent violation, saying that it was a misuse of rules against counterfeit medicines.

"Let me be very clear. WHO deplore those things. WHO deplore that this has happened," said Hendrick Hogerzeil, who heads the essential medicines programme at the UN health agency, at a press conference.

"We have asked both Netherlands and EU at that time what was happening, and we ask them to make sure that this does not happen again. It was an improper unfortunate use of counterfeit legislation."

Several shipments of India-made generic medicines bound for Latin America and Africa have been seized or halted while on transit in the European Union, with the first of such case dating to late 2008.

The move has sparked trade dispute at the World Trade Organization, with Brazil and India filing separate complaints against the European Union for violating international trade rules.

The two countries claim that developed countries are using the cover of a fight against counterfeit medicines to protect pharmaceutical giants and suppress legitimate generic drugs.

© 2010 AFP

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