U.S. World Trade Negotiators Must Maintain Access to Low Cost HIV/AIDS Drugs in Developing Countries, Editorial Says
The U.S. is working with the Southern African Customs Union to negotiate a free trade agreement that could affect access to generic HIV/AIDS drugs in the region, and it is "important" that the U.S. "does not, in the process, restrict the ability" of low-income people to access generic drugs in these countries, a New York Times editorial says. The U.S. free trade policy on pharmaceutical drugs for many years has been a "struggle" between drug companies and the "social imperative" to provide developing nations cheaper and easier access to vital drugs, the editorial says, adding, "Most of the time, the pharmaceutical companies have won." However, the current U.S. trade negotiator says the U.S. intends to respect an executive order that prohibits the country from placing further restrictions on access to generic drugs in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the editorial. Such pledges are "welcome words, and it is imperative that Washington be held to that promise," the editorial concludes (New York Times, 3/28).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.