U.S. Position on TRIPS Is a ‘Cynical Trap,’ San Francisco Chronicle Editorial Says
As the Bush administration takes a "hard line" against changes proposed by developing countries to the World Trade Organization's Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights agreement (TRIPS) that would create a permanent exemption for patent laws on AIDS drugs, critics of the U.S. position "rightly call [it] a cynical trap," especially after the administration threatened Bayer's patent on Cipro after "only a handful of deaths from anthrax," a San Francisco Chronicle editorial states. The TRIPS amendments that will be offered at the WTO meeting in Doha, Qatar, this week by India, Brazil and sub-Saharan African countries are "crucial" for developing countries that cannot afford drug makers' patented drug prices, the editorial continues. The position favored by U.S. diplomats, who are "wary of treading on the generous profits of U.S.-based drug manufacturers," would not allow most developing nations to import less expensive, generic drugs from nations such as India and Brazil and would bar these countries from producing generic drugs. The editorial criticizes this stance, noting that the "progress made in this country against AIDS is due mainly to abundant resources and enlightened thinking." The editorial concludes, "There is no dispute that AIDS is a global crisis and that certain drugs can help enhance and extend lives. It's time for this country's policies to reflect those realities" (San Francisco Chronicle, 11/7).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.