EU pharma legislation “total hypocrisy” while undermining health in poorer countries, campaigners say

Published: 26th April 2023

Responding to the EU’s proposed reform of pharmaceutical regulations, Piotr Kolczyński, EU Health Policy Advisor at Oxfam and the People’s Vaccine Alliance, said:

"Reducing the exclusivity of data is a step towards improving access to medicines within Europe, but it is total hypocrisy for the EU to protect the right to health in their own borders while undermining it elsewhere. 

"Low- and middle-income countries experience the worst inequalities in accessing medicines, often because of EU actions. That is why it is critical for EU countries to place human rights before pharma profits in all negotiations, including over a Pandemic Accord at the WHO.

"Pharmaceutical companies will always respond to regulation with ridiculous threats, but legislators should not believe their crocodile tears. In fact, companies can use this legislation to extend data exclusivity for even longer. The industry will always try to maximise its own profit, even at the expense of public health."

Notes to editors

Oxfam is a member of the People’s Vaccine Alliance, a coalition of organisations and activists united under a common aim of campaigning for a ‘People’s Vaccine’ for Covid-19 that is based on shared knowledge and is freely available to everyone everywhere. 

The EU worked to undermine a proposal from low and middle-income countries to waive intellectual property rules for COVID-19 vaccines, tests, and treatments. 

The EU is undermining measures to ensure timely medical access for low and middle-income countries in the Pandemic Accord. 
The EU’s proposed Free Trade Agreement with India could undermine access to medicines. 

Contact information

Jade Tenwick | | Oxfam

Joe Karp-Sawey |  | People’s Vaccine Alliance | WhatsApp only +44 7428 985985