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Intellectual property and drugs (was: wall street journal article)


wall street journal article

The Assault on Drug Patents
Wall Street Journal - November 25, 2002

Among the greatest U.S. achievements during the last major round of world trade negotiations was the addition of intellectual property protections to the international system. This benefited premier U.S. industries such as entertainment, software and drugs and it also brought the rule of law and an incentive for innovation to countries around the world.

But less than a decade later, much of the progress is at risk. A powerful alliance of countries and activist groups is trying to use the launch of the latest round of World Trade Organization negotiation to strip away protection for drug patents.
Negotiators are meeting in Geneva to flesh out the meaning of last year's Doha declaration, which said the world's poorest countries should be allowed to ignore patents when faced with epidemics including HIV, malaria and TB. The U.S. went along with the measure because of its narrow scope, and even the drug industry didn't object.

But the list of alleged justifications for patent seizure seems to be growing longer by the day. The latest drafts we've seen would allow any country to import copycat drugs when faced with any self-declared epidemic. The prime movers here are countries like India and Argentina, which do not respect patents and have large knock-off pharmaceutical industries looking for new markets. These industries, in turn, fund
activists who charge that the high price of patented drugs fuels epidemics like AIDS in Africa.
If patents are watered down further, American pharmaceutical makers would lose the incentive to develop new drugs, while poorer countries would lose any incentive to develop research-based drug industries of their own. American negotiators, moreover, would be naive to think that the attempted pillage will stop here. If the need for drugs justifies the seizure of intellectual property, why not the need for medical technology or software? Watch out, Bill Gates.

Are you persuaded by the argument that it's a mistake to permit Third World nations to ignore patents when faced with epidemics?.

After reading this article i think that it is a major mistake to permit thrid world nations to ignore patents when faced with any kind of epidemics. As you can see, in Brazil they have tried hard to slow down the rate of the illness but in South Afria keeps spreading more rapidly. I really feel that they need to develope a stronger public health network. These countries simply need to develope a good public health network in order to provide cheaper drugs for the poor rather than stealing drug patents off others and selling them at lower prices. This will still go on becasue goverment still does not beleive that Aids is a mjaor problem as you can see by what is going on in South Africa


Dear Leader
Staff member
  • Added quote tags. Please quote attributed text.
  • Next time, provide a link to the article and a brief summary; don't post the entire article text. Please respect the copyright of the author and edit the original message (unless the article is going to disappear from the server in a couple of days), or it will be deleted.
  • Next time, proviude a more descriptive thread title. "wall street journal article" is too vague, and could describe hundreds of artlcles about any topic. Besides, this was an editorial.
  • This post also isn't planning-related, so I'm moving it to the FAC.
Your humble board administrator.