News Release

Bush Administration and Big Drug Firms Move to Block Successful AIDS Programs


A senior policy analyst at the Washington-based Center for Economic and Policy Research, Naiman said today: “The U.S. government decision to challenge efforts to make AIDS drugs affordable in Brazil at the World Trade Organization is disturbing for several reasons. It indicates that despite lofty rhetoric in Washington about the importance of fighting the scourge of AIDS in poor countries, the priorities of the pharmaceutical lobby still take precedence in U.S. policy over the lives of millions. It also illustrates the danger of lodging dispute resolution and enforcement powers in institutions like the WTO; the clear intent of the agreement on intellectual property claims in the WTO was to allow countries not to honor patents in a public health emergency, which AIDS obviously is. Yet pharmaceutical corporations, acting through the U.S. government, can still use the WTO’s procedures to try to intimidate developing countries from exercising their rights and fulfilling their responsibilities to the public.”
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Russell is an activist with the Health GAP Coalition. She said today: “Instead of touting the Brazil program as a model, the Bush administration — arm in arm with the multibillion-dollar pharmaceutical industry — has confronted the life-extending efforts of Brazil with a trade dispute that will absolutely jeopardize their critical access program…. At the end of the day, mammoth multinational drug companies are desperately scared that other countries will follow Brazil’s lead and make aggressive efforts to generate low drug prices through generic competition. They have enlisted the U.S. government to call out the dogs on Brazil, in the face of the life and death needs of poor people with AIDS…. The deep allegiance of the Bush administration to the drug industry has resulted in pursuit of a morally bankrupt WTO dispute.”
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For further information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Norman Solomon, (415) 552-5378; David Zupan (541) 484-9167