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More than 200 civil society and patient advocacy groups are urging the U.K. government to remove the key negotiator working on a free trade agreement with the Indian government because of his previous ties to a major pharmaceutical company.

A leaked version of the agreement already sparked concerns last year that the proposed deal would impede the supply of affordable generic medicines in poor countries around the world. Now, the groups are upset that the involvement of Harjinder Kang, the U.K. Director for Policy & Trade Negotiations, may be compromised because he previously spent nearly three decades in different positions at AstraZeneca.


The leak occurred last October, although that version of the document was dated last April, so it remains possible some terms have been altered. The language in that draft would impose changes in patent and regulatory laws in India, and those changes contrast with provisions in a World Trade Organization agreement governing the ability of governments to sidestep patents in order to widen the availability of medicines.

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