Bush Should Urge Brazil To Respect Intellectual Property Rights for Antiretrovirals, Opinion Piece Says
President Bush during his visit this week to South America for the Summit of the Americas in Mar del Plata, Argentina, should urge Brazil to respect the laws of intellectual property, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Kenneth Adelman writes in a Miami Herald opinion piece. "Brazil is a prominent member of the 'axis of IP evil'" because it is one of the countries that has "flagrantly disregard[ed] intellectual property rights" in its efforts to produce generic versions of patented antiretroviral drugs, Adelman says (Adelman, Miami Herald, 11/3). The Brazilian government in March threatened to break the patents on four antiretrovirals -- Merck's efavirenz, Abbott Laboratories' lopinavir and ritonavir, and Gilead's tenofovir -- if the drug manufacturers did not agree to allow the country to produce generic equivalents or buy them at discounted prices (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/3). Last month, Brazil reached an agreement with Abbott that will lower the per-pill cost of lopinavir, also known as Kaletra, from $1.17 to 63 cents and protect the drug's patent. Under the terms of the agreement, Brazilian manufacturers will not produce a generic version of the drug domestically (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/12). According to Adelman, Brazil's actions concerning the antiretroviral patents were made "not to save Brazilian lives, but to spur Brazilian business." Brazil is "no longer a poor country" and is now the world's 10th largest economy, in part because of "this illegal seizure" of U.S. technology and information, Adelman writes. Bush should "defend the foundation of today's global economy" and U.S. prosperity because "Brazil has been pirating our IP too long already," Adelman says (Miami Herald, 11/3).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.