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Two Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams have already started providing medical care to the victims of the floods in the northeastern Indian state of Bihar. MSF has also started the first emergency relief distributions in various locations, including camps for the displaced, and is conducting assessments in the districts of Araria (the most affected area), Supaul, Purnia and Madhepura.

An interview with Dr. Binod Kumar who has been working on the MSF kala azar project in Hajipur since April 2008, and was among the first MSF teams to provide medical assistance to victims of the floods in Bihar.

After major floods, health problems like diarrhea, respiratory infections and skin problems are common. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams provide primary healthcare and distribute basic items to limit people’s exposure to cold, rain and contaminated water.  Floods caused widespread destruction in Bihar state, India, after the Kosi River broke its banks in Nepal in late August. Water flowed into a channel it had abandoned more than 100 years ago and flooded districts in Nepal and Bihar.

Nearly two months after Cyclone Aila devastated East India and the coast of Bangladesh, the plight of survivors is no longer headline news. However daily flooding is making their recovery almost impossible. In North 24 Parganas, one of the worse affected areas in the state of West Bengal, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is providing humanitarian assistance in remote villages.

In a welcome move for access to medicines, the Delhi High Court has rejected the appeal filed by the German pharmaceutical company Bayer Corporation against an earlier court order which had rejected the implementation of a drug regulatory system that essentially linked registration of medicines to their patent status. In August 2009, the Delhi High Court had rejected the petition filed by Bayer Corporation, seeking to stop the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) from granting marketing approval to a generic version of a cancer drug patented by Bayer.

Fiona Fisher, a medical doctor working for MSF in Manipur, India tells Vanlalsiam's story.

Without affordable generic drugs from India, millions of people with AIDS would not be alive today.  Don’t let the Free Trade Agreement between India and the European Union put an end to access to life-saving affordable medicines.
India is the source of most of the generic drugs used in the developing world. It can only do this thanks to its flexible patent laws.

Closed-door negotiations between India and the European Union (EU) for a free trade agreement (FTA) will be entering a crucial phase on April 28.

As the European Commission (EC) and India meet for closed-door negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) this week, MSF warns this is the last chance to remove provisions that will block access to life-saving medicines for people living in the developing world.

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