International Trade and Public Health

 

- A guide to global trade negotiations and their effects on medicine policy & public health -

 

 

 

Access to Medicines:

 

 

WTO Negotiations and Medicine Access:

October 2003. Just prior to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Conference in Cancun, trade ministers decided the fate of the "Doha Declaration" on public health, a document unanimously approved by the WTO in November 2001. The Doha Declaration verified that governments of poor countries could produce or import generic versions of patented medicines when facing public health problems. But the United States Trade Representative stalled the first in a series of meetings to implement the Doha Declaration. Working publicly with the Pfizer Corporation (see our primer on this issue), the USTR has now completed blocked effective use of the Declaration. The USTR and Pfizer claim that allowing that the poorest countries to import generic medicines would undermine their industry, even though these poorest nations provide only 1% of the pharmaceutical market. The USTR has also used trade sanctions against poor countries that attempt to use the public health safeguards verified in the Doha Declaration, and has drafted a series of bilateral and regional trade pacts that severely limit the capacities of Latin American, Asian and African countries to import or produce generic medicines, even though the United States' authority to do so is unlimited. Find out more about the issue, and about the recent Doha decision, by reading the primer from Doctors Without Borders

 

Where do profits go? Back into R&D? The pharmaceutical industry's tax forms suggest otherwise:                

 Company

 

% Revenue allocated to:

 

Revenue (millions)

Marketing

R & D

Profit

Merck

$47,716

13%

5%

15%

Pfizer

$32,259

35%

15%

24%

Bristol-Myers Squibb

$19,423

27%

12%

27%

Abbott

$16,285

23%

10%

10%

Wyeth

$14,129

37%

13%

16%

Eli Lilly .

$11,543

30%

19%

24%

Schering-Plough

$9,802

36%

13%

20%

Allergan

$1,685

42%

15%

13%

Total

$166,678

27%

11%

18%

($ millions)

 

$45,413

$19,076

$30,599

(Source: Securities & Exchange Comm., 2002)

 

University Research and Medicine Access:

October-December, 2003. Students from around the US, UK and Canada are working with patent experts and university officials to change collegiate licensing systems among research institutions. Their goal is to reform patent procedures at northern research universities in order to maximize access to future pharmaceuticals and other medical innovations for the poor. See www.essentialmedicines.org more information.

 

 

 

 

Health and Trade:

 

 

Patents & Medicines

-How do patents affect access to medicines?

-Questioning common criticisms of generics

-R&D and the pharmaceutical industry

-Facts & Figures on the patent-based pharmaceutical industry

-The pharmaceutical industry and American policymakers

-US trade sanctions against poor countries

-An example: generic drugs in Uganda

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The FTAA and Access to Medicines

-A Quick Explanation

-Details from Doctors Without Borders

-General problems with the FTAA

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The WTO and Access to Medicines

-A Quick Explanation of TRIPS

-Understanding the Doha Declaration

-How Doha was undermined

-How the WTO operates

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Debunking Fallacies

-Generic Medicines in Brazil

-Providing AIDS treatment to the poor

-Why drug donations arenít the solution

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Resources

-A database on drug access

-The Access to Essential Medicines Campaign

 

 

Get Involved:

-A Student Initiative

-Prepping for Miami

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The Basics

-Problematic approaches to fighting the AIDS pandemic

-Structural adjustment and public health

-African health system disintegration

-User fees in Africa

-Water privatization and public health

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'Free trade' and public health in Latin America

-The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and health

-The Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) and health

-The Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) and health

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Further reading (books)

-Global inequality and the health of the poor

-Pathologies of Power

-Development and disintegration in Thailand

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Texts of

-The TRIPS Agreement

-The Doha Declaration

-The Draft FTAA

-The U.S.-Chile FTA (template for CAFTA)

-The US Trade Rep's 2003 Agenda

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Online courses

-The political, social and economic aspects of the AIDS pandemic

-Health activism