The American Conservative Union, which calls itself the U.S.’s oldest and largest grassroots conservative organization, is calling upon the Bush administration to take action and “prevent Brazil from stealing patents” from three American pharmaceutical companies on the grounds of a “national emergency.”
Under the World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, developing countries such as those in sub-Saharan Africa can suspend patents laws in times of emergency for infectious diseases like AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. In Africa, HIV infection rates can approach 20 percent of the population.
According to media reports, Brazil is moving to break patents as early as next week, invoking this WTO provision.
“While Brazil claims to be a ‘developing country,’ they boast the world’s 10th largest economy with such accomplishments like the world’s 4th largest space program, and a US$ 1.3 trillion GDP – more than Canada and Mexico.
“On AIDS alone, Brazil exaggerates their need. Their rate of HIV infection is less that 1% of their population, a statistic, while unfortunate, very close to that of the U.S. population.
“In fact, to illustrate just how Brazil’s motivations are toward their own benefit and not really of that of helping their AIDS victims as they say, Brazil spent more on subsidies to aerospace giant Embraer (US$ 300 million) last year than it did on its national AIDS program (US$ 175 million), according to the United Nations,” said ACU Deputy Director Stacie Rumenap.
“The Bush administration must vigorously oppose this transparent attempt by a global power to steal from American companies on the grounds of a false emergency. The United States Trade Representative (USTR) has already failed to rebuke Brazil for chronic patent abuses against American software companies. ACU calls upon acting USTR Peter Allgeier to forcefully communicate that the Lula government cannot steal American goods,” concluded Rumenap.
The American Conservative Union