jueves, 6 de noviembre de 2014

Es patentes que...Big Pharma utiliza lobbies para defender sus patentes.

In 2000, the international aid organization Doctors Without Borders launched small HIV/AIDS treatment projects in Thailand, South Africa and Cameroon. At the time, the cost of treating one person with anti-retroviral drugs was about $10,000 a year, posing a significant challenge for humanitarian groups fighting HIV/AIDS in developing countries. 

 Then, in 2001, the price of HIV/AIDS treatments suddenly dropped by 96 percent, as generic drug manufacturers in India began competing in the anti-retroviral drug market. At the time, India's patent law excluded patents for live-saving drugs, ensuring that market competition would keep the prices down for Indian consumers. 

 The cost of anti-retroviral drugs has continued to drop, and the annual cost of treating one person is currently about $140, according to Doctors Without Borders. Research has shown that treating HIV patients early can significantly reduce transmission rates, and now the group provides HIV/AIDS treatment in 24 developing countries. 

"These generics have been a game changer in terms of being able to provide medical care in developing countries," said Judit Ruis, the US policy advisor for Doctors Without Borders' Access Campaign. 

 India has since updated its patent laws to meet international standards set by the World Trade Organization (WTO), but took advantage of flexibilities within the WTO framework to protect its domestic generic drug industry and keep drug prices low for its people, many of whom continue to live in poverty even as India emerges as a major world economy. 

 But big drug manufacturers in the United States and Europe are not happy with these flexibilities. A Truthout investigation has revealed that an aggressive lobbying effort by pharmaceutical interests pushed Congress and the White House to put mounting pressure on India to change its patent laws, despite India's current role as the "pharmacy of the developing world." 

 "It's an issue of survival for us and an issue of survival for our patients," said Ruis, who told Truthout that 90 percent of the 11 million people living with HIV/AIDS in developing countries are on generic drugs, most of which come from India.

Doctors Without Borders and its allies are now calling on Indian leaders to resist pressure from the United States to change India's patent laws in favor of the pharmaceutical industry, which they believe would drive up prices of lifesaving drugs for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, hepatitis and other diseases, making it more difficult to treat patients in the developing world.

Akin Gump and its employees top the list of 2014 contributors to Sen. Ron Wyden's (D-Oregon) campaign committee, with $61,533 in total donations, according to the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP). Akin Gump also donated nearly $20,000 during the 2012 cycle, and the drug company Amgen Inc. and its employees donated $26,000 in 2014. 

 Wyden is a member of the Senate Finance Committee, and is one of four members of Congress who helped put mounting diplomatic pressure on India by requesting that the International Trade Commission launch a special investigation into India's trade policies in 2013. As Prime Minister Modi arrived in Washington in late September, Wyden and his allies filed another request to the commission demanding a second investigation into "India's trade policies that discriminate against US trade and investment" to build on the first. 

 Joining Wyden in the request is Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who has received $341,600 in campaign contributions from pharmaceutical manufacturers since 2008 - more than any other member of Congress. Since 2012, Hatch's campaign war chest has received more than $105,800 from Merck and its employees, $117,000 from Amgen and $44,000 from Pfizer

 The out-of-cycle review of India's trade policy comes only months after the US Trade Representative once again placed India on its "priority watch list" of countries of concern in its annual Special 301 Report on the intellectual property regimes of US trading partners. Both moves amount to the threat of economic sanctions, according to Health GAP and Doctors Without Borders. 

 "We are strongly concerned," Kavanagh said. "The 301 watch list is basically a threat of trade sanctions.

 Lobbying records show that both AFTI and PhRMA have lobbied the US Trade Representative on intellectual property and trade with India. 

 The other lawmakers who signed on to the request for a second ITC probe are Rep. Dave Camp (R-Michigan) and Rep. Sander Levin (D-Michigan) of the House Ways and Means Committee. Since 2013, Camp has received $15,000 in donations from the political action committees associated with Amgen, Eli Lilly and Pfizer. Levin receives support from several health care firms. (Más)

Haciendo "patente" el desacuerdo sobre patentes 

El otro escándalo silenciado en los medios: la industria farmacéutica / Viçent Navarro

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