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Trip to India
On Thu, 21 Nov 1996, Renard Martin wrote:
> Hey, welcome back. I take it you enjoyed your trip to India?
Thanks... it was really fabulous. I attended a meeting on
intellectual property rights and the GATT, organized by a group of Indian
judges and members of parliament. I was one of about 40 foreign
participants. India is resisting the TRIPS section of the GATT, (TRIPS
stands for trade related aspects of intellectual property) due mostly to
the impact on pharmaceuticals and agriculture. There is also quite bit of
resistance of certain patents on life forms. The U.S. is putting a lot of
pressure on the Indian government to implement 20 year patents on
pharmaceuticals, without an meaningful compulsory licensing. This will
lead to significant increases in the price of drugs, which are now not
subject to patents, and are also quite cheap.
According to the CIA World Factbook, India had a population of 920 million
in 1994, and a per capita income of $1,300. "A large share of the
population, perhaps as much as 40%, remains too poor to afford an adequate
diet." A middle class job might pay around 10,000 rupees, which is a
little less than $300 per month. The 40 percent who are called poor by
Indian standards are poor indeed. American companies apparently pay from
$.60 to $1 per day for some workers, and some people earn less than this,
or just live off the land, in very small farms.
It is difficult to visit India without being struck by the great cruelty
of U.S. policy on this issue. We are organizing a U.S. Conference on
health care on intellectual property rights in April 1997, which will be
co-sponsored by several other groups.
James Love / email@example.com / P.O. Box 19367, Washington, DC 20036
Voice: 202/387-8030; Fax 202/234-5176
Center for Study of Responsive Law
Consumer Project on Technology; http://www.essential.org/cpt
Taxpayer Assets Project; http://www.tap.org