[Ip-health] Comment on Congressional Letter Opposing USTR Pressure on Thailand
Wed Jun 20 12:00:03 2007
For More Information Contact: Robert Weissman or Sarah Rimmington (202)
For Immediate Release: June 20, 2007 *
*Essential Action Comments on Waxman letter regarding USTR Pressure on
Thailand for its Lawfully Issued Compulsory Licenses
Following is the statement of Robert Weissman, director of Essential
Action, regarding a letter sent today by Representative Henry Waxman and
nearly three dozen Members of Congress to the U.S. Trade Representative.
The letter protests USTR's inclusion of Thailand on the "Priority Watch
List" for issuing lawful compulsory licenses, and is available at:
By using legal methods to authorize price-lowering generic competition
on overpriced AIDS and heart-disease drugs, Thailand has shown the world
what it means to place public health over commercial considerations.
Thailand has been very clear that the savings it accrues will be used to
expand access to important medicines.
USTR's retaliatory placement of Thailand on the priority watch list was
designed to punish the country for prioritizing public health over the
interests of Big Pharma, and to send a message to other developing
countries that they will be penalized for issuing compulsory licenses
and utilizing the public health flexibilities available in the World
Trade Organization's intellectual property agreement.
But the times are changing. The letter released today by Representative
Waxman and signed by nearly three dozen Members of Congress reflects
growing sentiment in Congress that U.S. policy on access to medicines
questions must change. This emerging view is that developing countries
must be permitted to take legal measures to reduce the price of
medicines and make them more widely available. These Members of Congress
recognize that the U.S. government damages the nation's commitments,
reputation, aspirations and legitimate national interest when it
reflexively adopts Big Pharma's agenda overseas.
Essential Action, Access to Medicines Project
Office: (202) 387-8030 x34
Mobile: (202) 422-2687