New Delhi: Apprehensions that prices of cheap medicines will shoot up if India and European Union sign a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) were on Friday raised with visiting President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy by a representative of HIV-positive patients.
During an interaction with audience after his address at India International Centre here, a woman who claimed to be a representative of civil society organisations raised the issue with Rompuay saying some clauses in the FTA draft being negotiated could challenge the AIDS patients constitutional rights to access to medicine.
"I am not going to ask any question. I am trying to express that I am a woman living with HIV. I have been living with HIV for the last 10 years. I have access to medication ...and we understand that FTA and EU negotiations have concerns related to our access to medications.
"Some clauses potentially could impact accessing the medication and that could challenge our Constitutional rights to access to the health," she said.
The EU leader replied, "Health is our main concern," and received a memorandum from her on the issue which she said was signed by "hundreds of human rights and civil society activists".
The NGOs working in the health sector have cautioned the government that EU's demand that intellectual property provisions be included in the FTA will pave way for scaling up of cheaper medicines particularly for the treatment of HIV.
India and European Union are at an "intense" stage of negotiations for reaching the much-delayed free trade agreement at their annual summit which began here on Friday.
First Published: Friday, February 10, 2012, 21:18