Inter Press Service Explores How Kenya’s Anti-Counterfeit Act, Possible EU-India Free Trade Agreement Could Scale Back Access To Affordable Medications

Inter Press Service examines how legislation in Kenya targeting counterfeit medications and a possible EU-India Free Trade Agreement could scale back access to affordable and safe generic medications widely used in developing countries. The article describes the toll of counterfeit medicines in Kenya and the decision in 2008 to pass the country’s Anti-Counterfeit Act – a move Onyango Opiyo, the executive director of the Nairobi Network of Post-Test Clubs, which supports people living with HIV/AIDS, says has held up legitimate generic medications. The piece also notes Opiyo’s growing concern over the impact negotiations between the EU and India could have in further slowing access to generic medicines.

The article describes the burden of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and cancer in Kenya, the relationship between access to generic medicines and expanded treatment programs in the country and the ongoing debates between groups on whether anti-counterfeit measures act to protect consumers from inferior medications or serve as a barrier to affordable generics.

The piece quotes Betty Maina, chief executive of the Kenya Association of Manufacturers, an HIV/AIDS advocate in Kenya, and a patient living with HIV/AIDS in the country (Gathigah, 2/28).