Bush accused of pressuring countries to stop producing generic drugs
- By: Fiona Fleck
The United States has come under fire for pressuring developing countries to give up their right to produce cheap, generic anti-AIDS medicines in return for bilateral trade agreements that strengthen protection of costlier, brand name drugs.
Nobel economics laureate Joseph Stiglitz joined advocacy groups Oxfam and Médecins Sans Frontières this month in criticising Washington for bowing to industry pressure by pursuing a policy the groups say could prevent millions of AIDS patients in poor countries from getting the lifesaving antiretroviral drugs and treatment they need.
US officials denied their trade policy was hampering the fight against AIDS, citing international trade rules that allow flexibility when poor countries face a health crisis.
Of an estimated 38 million people infected with HIV globally, less than 10% have access to antiretroviral drugs, and many of those are in wealthy, developed countries.
In a report released at an international AIDS conference in Bangkok this