India-EU Current Affairs

Enter Your Email Address To Subscribe Daily Digest of Current Affairs:

WHO settles India, EU medicine dispute issue

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has dropped the term ‘counterfeit’ and retained ‘falsified’ to describe medicines of inferior quality.

This decision was taken by a WHO’s technical working group on draft working definitions of substandard/spurious /falsely-labelled/falsified/counterfeit (SSFFC) medical products.

It settles longstanding India, EU medicine dispute and battle about labelling of drugs. It is considered as a significant victory for the global access to medicines campaign.

What is the issue?

  • The above mentioned terms were used interchangeably to confiscate Indian made cheap generic drugs exported to other countries by showing that they were in violation of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR).
  • It was also alleged that big pharmaceutical companies were using term ‘counterfeit’ to describe generic medicines and disrupting trade of generic medicines especially from India.
  • Even the European Union Free Trade Agreement (EU FTA) was derailed after affordable, safe-to-use generic drugs made in India were confiscated as ‘illegal’ and ‘counterfeit.’
  • Between 2008 and 2009, nearly 20 shipments of generic drugs were detained while in transit from India to several developing countries via Europe.

What were the concerns?

  • Under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) — the definition of counterfeit was clearly targeted at one particular area.
  • It clearly mentioned that it is wilful infringement of trademark on a commercial scale.
  • However in reality, campaigns and legislation against counterfeit drugs often have nothing to do with concerns about drug quality.
  • The major European and US pharmaceutical companies used these rules for vested interest by limiting competition from generic drugs.
  • They were using increased enforcement of IP laws as a tool to clamp down on the legitimate trade in high-quality generic medicines between developing countries

Significance of WHO decision

  • The adopted definition will use falsified and drops the word counterfeit. The term falsified is much more in line with public health concerns regarding medicines.
  • It makes false claims about what they contain or where they are from, that represent a genuine problem.
  • It clarifies that the term ‘counterfeit’ will now be used by member States with respect to protection of IPR.
  • Settles a long-standing battle about labelling of drugs as for far too long, genuine generic medicines have been labelled as counterfeit.
  • Removes confusion on the much needed attention from the substandard medicines — which is a bigger public health problem for developing countries.

WHO is a specialized agency of the United Nations that is concerned with international public health.  It was established on 7 April 1948. It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

Tags:

Union Cabinet approves MoU between India and European Union on water cooperation

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for the signing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and European Union in the field of water resources.

The MoU envisages strengthening technological, scientific and management capabilities of India and EU in field of water management on basis of reciprocity, equality and mutual benefit.

Key Facts

  • The MoU aims to identify key environmental issues and approaches to sustainable development in the field of water management between EU and India.
  • Under it, exchange of experiences and cooperation will take place between India and EU to strengthen and further develop cooperation in the field of water management.
  • It provides technical exchange on water issues including on integrated water resource management plans within river basins and through study visits.
  • It envisions sustainable management of water resources in India for tackling challenges posed by water management in the context of a changing climate, growing population, and competing water demands.
  • Under the MoU, a Joint Working Group will be formed to monitor the activities to be carried out for its fulfillment.

Background

  • The Union Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation has been envisaging bilateral cooperation with other countries in the field of water management and resources development.
  • India has decided to benefit from experience and expertise from EU keeping in view of their success in distribution of water resources, water pricing and water use efficiency
  • The EU member states have adopted water pricing policies to provide adequate incentives for users to use water resources efficiently thereby contributing to environmental objectives.

Tags:

Union Cabinet gives nod to India-EU agreement on S&T cooperation

The Union Cabinet has given its approval to the renewed Agreement for Scientific and Technological Cooperation with European Union (EU) for another period of 5 years.

Decision in this regard was taken by Union Cabinet Meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. The agreement will be retrospectively effective from 17 May 2015 until 2020.

Key facts

  • The agreement will reaffirm India-EU’s shared commitment to research and innovation as drivers of social and economic development.
  • The Agreement’s purpose is to strengthen the co-operation in R&D activities in science & technology fields of common interest between the research institutions of the EU Member States and India.
  • The cooperation activities include supporting joint R&D projects, sharing of advanced research facilities, exchange of scientists and experts joint seminars.
  • It will also include symposia and workshops, sharing of relevant information on science, technology and innovation policy, program and R&D projects.

The Agreement for Scientific and Technological Cooperation was initially signed in November, 2001 was in force till May 2015.

Tags:

Advertisement

12