Kajal Bhardwaj is a global leader in the access to medicines movement, and is a lawyer who has been working on health and human rights for over a decade. She has worked particularly closely with the Lawyers Collective HIV/AIDS Unit, Medecins Sans Frontieres (India office), and the Delhi Network of Positive People.
Kajal’s continuing engagement with health and HIV started in 2002 with India’s draft legislation on HIV. As a legal consultant and researcher, Kajal was involved in the drafting of the HIV/AIDS Bill, the intensive research and extensive consultations that accompanied the drafting as well as capacity building on the Bill and advocacy with law and policy makers. Her areas of work on health and human rights include legal and jurisprudential national and regional reviews of SRHR and training and capacity building with drug users and their networks on law and rights.
Since 2005, she has been working extensively on developing legal and advocacy approaches to improve HIV/AIDS treatment access in light of India’s new patent law. As a result of the sustained advocacy Kajal was involved in, the law includes key health safeguards to ensure continued generic production in India. Kajal has also been involved in her independent capacity with advocacy and technical and policy analysis related to the implementation of the safeguards in the patent law including in relation to the Novartis litigation on Section 3(d)), oppositions filed by health groups to challenge patent applications on key HIV and cancer medicines and voluntary licences.
Since 2007, as India and the EU started negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement that threatens to impose intellectual property obligations greater than those required by the WTO, she has been working on legal and technical analysis of the FTA negotiating text for public interest groups and networks of people living with HIV. As FTA negotiations have expanded across the developing world, she has been involved in capacity building and advising civil society groups across the region on negotiating texts and the impact of provisions suggested by developed countries in these negotiations.
Since 2009, she has also been working at the regional level in South Asia. This has included capacity building for government officials and civil society groups in Nepal, Myannmar and Cambodia. In 2012, she designed and co-ordinated an eight country capacity building workshop held by the UN on the use and adoption of TRIPS flexibilities. She is also closely involved in the drafting of a national law to incorporate TRIPS flexibilities in Cambodia.