India, Brazil jointly protest drug seizure by Netherlands

Updated on Jan 30, 2009 07:23 PM IST

Furious at the seizure of a shipment of generics medicine from India to Brazil by the Dutch authorities, the Asian and the South American countries will jointly protest at the WTO against the European rules that allowed confiscating essential drugs.

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PTI | By, Davos

Furious at the seizure of a shipment of generics medicine from India to Brazil by the Dutch authorities, the Asian and the South American countries will jointly protest at the WTO against the European rules that allowed confiscating essential drugs.

The issue was discussed in Davos by Commerce Minister Kamal Nath and Brazilian Minister for External Relations Celso Amorim, on the fringes of the World Economic Forum meeting.

"Both the ministers agreed to denounce the seizure of the generic medicines by the Dutch authorities, at the next meeting of the WTO General Council, scheduled for February 3. The ministers also agreed that both the countries will act in close coordination, not only in the WTO but in other relevant fora," a statement by the Indian Commerce Ministry said.

A ship-load of medicine, off patent both in India and Brazil, was confiscated by the Netherlands customs authorities at a Dutch port last month.

The consignment of Losartan, a drug for controlling high blood pressure, was seized on the grounds that the medicine, manufactured by Hyderabad-based Dr Reddy's Laboratories Ltd, was patented in the Netherlands.

India and Brazil are up in arms against the EU rules that allow the seizure of a generic drug.

India said the material seized was of strategic importance to public health and its trade was being conducted in full conformity with international rules.

"This decision (seizure) is also a serious setback for the principle of universal access to medicines, running against the spirit of resolution 2002/31 of the Commission on Human Rights on the right to enjoy the highest standards of physical and mental health," it said.

Amorim and Nath also reviewed the bottlenecks in the way of reaching a global trade deal under the Doha Round of WTO talks.

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