Monday, May 07, 2007

Trade Protection in the Name of the Common Good

Good point: "If the copying of Western drugs is illegal, so should be the patenting of yoga."

Read the whole thing. Here's the larger issue:
For decades, Indian law allowed its pharmaceutical companies to replicate Western-patented drugs and sell them at a lower price to countries too poor to afford them otherwise. In this way, India supplied half of the drugs used by HIV-positive people in the developing world.

But in March 2005, the Indian Parliament, under pressure to bring the country into compliance with the World Trade Organization's rules on intellectual property, passed a bill declaring it illegal to make generic copies of patented drugs.

This has put life-saving antiretroviral medications out of reach of many of the nearly 6 million Indians who have AIDS. Yet the very international drug companies that so fiercely protect their patents oppose India's attempts to amend World Trade Organization rules to protect its traditional remedies.

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