News Release

*Cipro Patenting * Civil Liberties


Russell is a member of the Health GAP Coalition. She said today: “With the Cipro deal, Secretary Thompson did not want to set a precedent that could be used against the U.S. administration at the upcoming WTO meeting, where the issue of affordable AIDS drugs and patent rights in poor countries will be a major controversy. If U.S. officials had agreed to license production of generic ciprofloxacin, all their arguments against patent flexibility in poor countries seeking generic AIDS drugs would have fallen to pieces — and Robert Zoellick, the U.S. Trade Representative, wouldn’t tolerate that, no matter how high the stakes. Thousands die daily from untreated AIDS globally, and Zoellick is blocking the use of common-sense strategies among poor countries to promote generic AIDS drug access.”
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Director of the Consumer Project on Technology, Love said: “Thompson says we need medications for 10 million persons. At the 120-pill recommended course of treatment for ciprofloxacin, this is 1.2 billion pills. Bayer says it can produce 2 million per day. At this rate it would take 600 days to supply 1.2 billion pills. The U.S. is now saying it will only provide 10 doses of ciprofloxacin, and then switch to a cheaper antibiotic…. Apparently five generic companies have already received U.S. FDA clearance for the quality of their ciprofloxacin, and could immediately be asked to manufacture the drug. The U.S. government already has the right to use patents without a license. The U.S. can clearly address supply issues faster with six suppliers than with one. The government is cutting corners on public health to protect its negotiating position in the Doha WTO meeting on November 9-13 — where the issue of compulsory licensing of drugs, and imports under a compulsory license where a country does not have domestic capacity for production, is a central issue, with the U.S., Canada and the European Union opposing the Africa group. Americans are being put at risk in order to protect the pharmaceutical companies doing business in Africa and other developing countries.”
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Author of the law review article “Scheherazade Meets Kafka: Two Dozen Sordid Tales of Ideological Exclusion,” Akram, associate professor at the Boston University School of Law, has given legal assistance in cases where secret “evidence” has been used by the government. She said today: “This entire legislation is premised on the idea that we can get increased security at the expense of our civil liberties — that’s historically never been true and it’s not true today.”
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Senior attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights, Chang said today: “Our commitment to the Bill of Rights and to the democratic values that define this nation is under challenge. The legislation that the Senate is expected to pass today will … discourage protest activities, further diminish our already reduced expectations of privacy under the Fourth Amendment, and strip immigrants of their fundamental right to freedom from bodily restraint without due process of law. As constitutional challenges to the legislation wind their way through the courts, the judiciary will be presented with the choice of upholding the Constitution or acquiescing in its surrender.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167