Bush Reviewing Executive Order Allowing International Importation of Generic HIV/AIDS Drugs
President Bush may reverse former President Clinton's executive order that allows sub-Saharan African governments to import generic versions of HIV/AIDS medications from other countries where the drugs are manufactured while still under U.S. patent, Bloomberg News/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. According to drug companies such as GlaxoSmithKline, the "world's largest producer of AIDS drugs," as well as Merck & Co., Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and Roche Pharmaceuticals, the executive order, signed by Clinton in May, "changed the way their drugs are priced" (Rosenkrantz, Bloomberg News/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 1/22). According to the order, the United States "shall not seek, through negotiation or otherwise, the revocation or revision of any intellectual property law or policy" of sub-Saharan African countries provided that they promote "access to HIV/AIDS pharmaceuticals or medical technologies for affected populations in that country." In essence, the order holds African countries to the "less stringent standard of a World Trade Organization agreement on intellectual property protection," instead of U.S. trade laws concerning patents (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/11/00).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.