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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 / love@tap.org / 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