U.S. Free Trade Agreements Positively Affect AIDS Drugs in Africa, Letter to the Editor Says
The Bush administration has negotiated free-trade agreements that balance market incentives for producing "life-saving" drugs and delivering those drugs to people who need them, particularly those living with HIV/AIDS -- Susan Schwab, deputy U.S. trade representative, writes in a New York Times letter to the editor in response to a March 28 Times editorial that addresses the effects of the Bush administration's free trade agreements on access to AIDS-related drugs in Africa. U.S. free-trade agreements do not prohibit trading partners from taking steps to protect public health -- specifically regarding HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and in cases of national emergency -- Schwab writes, adding that the U.S. has contributed "more than any other country to HIV/AIDS patients in the Southern African Customs Union over the last decade." The U.S. was "instrumental" in a World Trade Organization agreement to allow countries to supersede patent rights and export vital medications to countries facing public health emergencies that cannot produce the needed drugs themselves, Schwab writes (Schwab, New York Times, 4/4).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.