NRIs demonstrate against proposed amendments to Patents
Washington, Mar 1, 2005
Braving the chilly weather, NRI students, health
activists, professionals and doctors rallied in front
of the Indian Embassy here during the weekend protesting
against the Centre's decision to amend the Patents
The rally, organised by Association for India's Development
Inc (AID) and Global AIDS Alliance (GAA), was conducted
as part of a Global Day of Action in solidarity with
protests held in India against amendments to the Act,
which was slated for discussion in the ongoing Budget
India is under pressure to comply with the Trade
Related Aspects of International Property rights (TRIPS)
agreement, as dictated by the WTO and is changing
its patent laws even beyond the requirement of TRIPS
to favour a few multinational pharmaceutical companies,
the protestors alleged.
As a result of these amendments, majority of poor
people in India and in about 200 other developing
countries who can barely afford medicines and healthcare,
would be severely affected, they claimed.
If the proposed amendment is passed, the cost of
medicines "would be dictated by a few multinational
companies in US and Europe, and borne by those suffering
from HIV/AIDS, cancer, tuberculosis, malaria and other
life-threatening diseases," the organisers said.
The movement will be intensified to pressurise the
Indian government to "listen to people's voices"
and reject the amendments, Vineeta Gupta, a physician,
human rights lawyer and AIDS volunteer, said.
An online petition by the campaign attracted signatures
from more than 1,500 people from all over the world,
and is being submitted to the Centre, organisers said.