EU Parliament rejects Anti Counterfeit Treaty

The European Parliament has rejected the international Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) put before it by the European Commission, which means that it cannot become law in the European Union (EU).

478 MEPs voted against the Treaty, 39 for and 165 abstained.Parliament's striking down of the agreement was welcomed by international aid agency Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), which argued that ACTA could have limited access to quality generic medicines.

"The way it was written, ACTA would have given an unfair advantage to patented medicines and restricted access to affordable generic medicines, to the detriment of patients and treatment providers alike," said Aziz urRehman, intellectual property adviser for the MSF Access Campaign.

MSF emphasises that it strongly supports efforts to ensure that generic medicines meet accepted international standards. However, it also says that ACTA's over-broad definition of "counterfeiting" and its excessive enforcement provisions left too much room for error. Legitimately-produced generic drugs could have been seized and detained, hindering access for people who rely on these medicines to survive, says the agency.

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