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High Court enjoins UN in case against generic ARVs ban

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Updated Tuesday, January 18th 2011 at 00:00 GMT +3

By Evelyn Kwamboka

The United Nations has been enjoined in a case challenging the Government’s decision to ban generic drugs for HIV and Aids.

It claimed enforcement of the Anti-Counterfeit Act 2008 would endanger the lives of the infected.

The High Court in Nairobi heard those affected would not access affordable and essential drugs.

"The Special Rapporeur wishes to intervene as an interested party to support the constitutional principles of access to essential medicines," advocate Ombati Omwanza said yesterday. Justice Daniel Musinga allowed Mr Anand Grover to represent the UN in the suit.

Generic drugs

The court had allowed importation of generic anti-retrovirals, pending the hearing and determination of this case.

The interim order issued in April was aimed at saving the lives of those living with the virus. The judge’s interim order stopped the implementation of three sections of the new Anti-Counterfeit Act.

The Act was enacted by Parliament in 2008 and President Kibaki assented to it on December 24, same year. Its objective was to prohibit trade in counterfeit goods. It was to take effect from July 7, 2009.

Omwanza told the court people using ARV drugs would be arbitrarily denied access to affordable and essential medication necessary for their fulfillment of the right to life as enshrined in the Constitution.

"The generic drugs for the treatment of HIV and Aids are available and affordable compared to the branded version," he argued.

Attorney General Amos Wako said the Act was established to stop multinationals from importing counterfeit drugs.

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