Brazilian AIDS Program Director Criticizes Bush Administration’s Position on Drug Patents
Dr. Paulo Roberto Teixeira, Brazil's AIDS program director, said yesterday at a U.N. news conference that the Unites States' recent criticism of Brazil's generic AIDS drug manufacturing practices "is a clear change in the attitude and the position of the American government," the New York Times reports. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick on Monday released a report on patent protections, stating, "Certain countries try to justify the use of protectionist measures by associating these measures with the AIDS crisis when no such linkage exists." The report also "[s]ingl[ed] out Brazil," saying that the country's government "had chosen a broad application of its patent law, leaving open the possibility that the measure would also be applied to other goods not related to health." Teixeira called the report "unacceptable," adding that his country was "not in competition with American manufacturers of AIDS drugs and had no intention of exporting its AIDS drugs," which are only used domestically. Teixeira, who was in New York to discuss plans for a special U.N. General Assembly session on AIDS in June, said that the United States "say[s] that there are some good AIDS programs in the world and they exclude Brazil from that, and we know why," noting that Thailand, Senegal and Uganda -- three countries praised by the United States for their efforts to curb the AIDS epidemic -- "did not insist on wide access to antiretroviral medicines." Teixeira added, "If at the global level or in talking about international relations, the USTR will be in charge to say what is good and what is not good for AIDS prevention and control -- saying even what kind of strategy will be adopted by countries -- I think we are lost" (Crossette, New York Times, 5/3). Brazil's anti-AIDS efforts, which include the manufacture of generic AIDS drugs, have reduced AIDS deaths in the country by between 50% and 70% (Lederer, Associated Press, 5/3).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.