Access to Medicines at Risk across the Globe
Access to Medicines at Risk across the Globe: What to Watch Out For in Free Trade Agreements with the United States
One by one, countries are trading away their people’s health in “free trade” agreements with the United States. These countries are being pushed to accept extremely restrictive intellectual property provisions that could put an end to competition from generic medicine producers and to countries’ ability to make use of existing safeguards against patent abuse.
By deliberately restricting the availability of low-cost medicines, these agreements will have a direct impact on the health of people in developing countries.
The purpose of this paper is to point out what to look out for in these free trade agreements, to explain what the United States is seeking and show what the impact will be. Médecins Sans Frontières hopes to advocate that countries do not agree to any measures in trade agreements which restrict peoples’ access to essential medicines. Intellectual property should be kept out of these agreements.
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