Some bad medicine proposals withdrawn from RCEP, but some remain

July 8: 2019: The Times of India reports that some proposals for stronger medicine monopolies, which would delay the availability of cheaper medicines, have been withdrawn from the RCEP negotiations. This follows strong campaigning by public health and other community groups which pressured the Indian government to reject them.

While public health activists in India and Thailand have welcomed this victory, they are still gravely concerned that intellectual property enforcement provisions remain in the RCEP text. These allow customs officers to seize and detain shipments of cheaper generic medicines in transit to destination countries, on mere suspicion of patent, trademark or copyright infringement. 

Such seizures of shipments of medicines used for treatment of HIV, cardiovascular diseases, and mental health, being delivered from India and China to countries in Africa and Latin America, have taken place in the past. Generic medicine companies have had their products confiscated or been sued for damages. Public health and other community groups are campaigning to have these proposals also withdrawn from the RCEP.