The American organization USA for Innovation yesterday urged the United States Trade Representative’s office (USTR) to immediately issue a statement that American trade relations with Brazil will be seriously affected if it proceeds with a plan to seize drug patents from American labs.
Brazil on Friday announced that it would be the world’s first country to issue a compulsory license on an AIDS drug manufactured by Abbott laboratories. Brazil gave Abbott 10 days to respond to its request to forfeit its patent.
The news is the latest threat by Brazil to seize American intellectual property in recent months. The USTR has publicly said it is “keenly” aware of the situation and is “monitoring developments,” though it has yet to make any formal statement on the issue.
“The US Government clearly needs to do more than to simply monitor the situation,” said executive director, Ambassador Ken Adelman.
“Brazil is undeterred by USTR’s inaction. American policy cannot be enforced in a vacuum, and this silence from USTR will carry a heavy price for American innovators.”
Health Minister Humberto Costa said this week that Brazil was forced to invoke the TRIPS agreement because his country’s resources were “insufficient” to pay for American AIDS medicines.
However, Brazil, among the world’s largest economies, announced today it had plans to continue its uranium enrichment program. Brazil has invested over US$ 1 billion in this program in recent years.
“There is no fiscal crisis in Brazil that precludes Brazil from spending far more than US$ 180 million per year on its AIDS program if it has been able to spend US$ 1 billion to enrich uranium,” Adelman said.
“Sitting by and watching Brazil abuse the TRIPS agreement for commercial gain will set forth a dangerous precedent internationally.”
USA for Innovation is self-described as a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of intellectual property and continued innovation around the globe. They claim to educate decision makers, the media and general public about threats to innovation.
USA for Innovation – www.usaforinnovation.org