The Counterfeit Trade Agreement; ACTA, still threatens development.
Shortly after what was publicized as the final round of negotiations in Japan a revised text of ACTA was released. The text subtitles itself as a “Informal Predecisional/Deliberative Draft” and states “This text reflects the outcome of the 11th and final round of the negotiations held in Japan. Some delegations expressed reservation on specific parts of text, which are highlighted in the text by underlines and italic letters.”
This is curious, the final round of negotiations have been held but consensus hasn’t been reached. Apparently the European Union and the United States are still negotiating various issues. What does that mean for the trade representatives of other countries which participated in the secretive negotiations? Will they accept whatever is decided for them?
One slightly hopeful sign is that the text currently claims to exclude patents for the border provisions, although it does so only in a footnote, not the text. In any case since the negotiators have claimed that they are not required to obtain the assent of democratically elected representatives of the people they retain the ability to change to include patents as originally required by the proponents of the treaty. But even if patents are excluded from the customs portion of the treaty the agreement is bad news for access to medicines, as shown by a recent attempt to block access in Europe (the EU has been pushing for border measures to apply to patents). German customs authorities seized a shipment of medicines in transit to the least developed country of Vanuatu . The medicines were the antibiotic, Amoxicillin. The patent for the drug has long expired (even I as an ignorant African was well aware of this) and there are numerous brand names; including (per Wikiepedia):
“Actimoxi, Alphamox, Amocla, AMK, Amoksibos, Amoxiclav Sandoz, Amoxidal, Amoxil, Amoxin, Amoksiklav, Amoxibiotic, Amoxicilina, Apo-Amoxi, Augmentin (with clavulanic acid), Bactox, Betalaktam, Cilamox, Curam, Dedoxil, Dispermox, Duomox, E-Mox, Enhancin, Gimalxina, Geramox, Hiconcil, Isimoxin, Klavox, Lamoxy, Moxatag, Moxilen, Moxypen, Moxyvit, Nobactam, Novamoxin, Ospamox, Panklav (with clavulanic acid), Pamoxicillin, Panamox, Polymox, Samthongcillin, Clamoxyl, Senox, Sinacilin, Trimox, Tolodina, Tormoxin (India), Wymox, Yucla, Zerrsox and Zimox.”
Apparently German customs officials couldn’t tell the difference between the generic name Amoxicillin and one of the brand names “Amoxil”, and so they seized the medicines as suspected counterfeit goods, because they believed them to be face medicines, not because they believed them to be dangerous but because they thought that because the packaging for the goods bore the word Amoxicillin that the goods, which were transiting and not being sold in Germany might infringe a trademark in Germany. Without anti-biotics people can die, but at no stage have the trade negotiators of ACTA acknowledged that they are playing with people’s lives, that there will be a body count as a result of ACTA, and that body count will primarily be the poorest people in the world.