The United Nations Special Rapporteur on health rights, Anand Grover, has praised the European Parliament's recent vote to reject the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), calling it a step in the right direction in ensuring that citizens of the world have access to affordable and essential medication. The European Parliament overwhelmingly voted against the international anti-piracy trade agreement on July 4.
While ACTA detractors saw problems with the treaty related to human rights, free speech, and due process of the law, others like Grover feared that it would enable multinational drug companies to stop the free flow of generic medicine across borders by enabling exporting, transit and importing countries to seize legitimate and safe generic medicine on claims that they might be "counterfeit goods."
"ACTA’s defeat in Europe is a welcome blow to the flawed agreement that has failed to address numerous concerns related to access to medicines," Mr. Grover said.
In July of last year the UN Human Rights Council asked the Special Rapporteur to study the challenges related to access to medicine throughout the world and ways to overcome those challenges. His report to the Council will be released in June 2013.