[Ip-health] Senator Bernie Sanders Asks USTR to Endorse Waiver of WTO Patent Rules for Least Developed Countries

Peter Pitts ppitts at cmpi.org
Mon Sep 28 12:19:26 PDT 2015

Weak end at Bernie’s

Ahead of a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) ministerial meeting later this week, a naïve attempt by the Senator from Ben & Jerry’s to generate some post-Papal ink …

WASHINGTON, Sept. 28 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today asked the chief trade representative for the United States to ensure people in the poorest countries around the world have access to low-cost medicines.

“Making sure people in poor countries have access to life-saving medicine is our moral responsibility,” Sen. Sanders wrote. “The European Commission and the Holy See both support a permanent exception for drug patents for these poor countries. The United States government should support this as well. Lives are at stake.”

Bernie, FYI -- When you examine the WHO’s model Essential Drug List, very few of the 400 or so drugs deemed essential are new, or patented or were ever patented in the world’s poorest countries.  In category after category, from aspirin to Zithromax, in almost every case and in almost every country, these medicines have always been (or have been for many years) in the public domain.  That is, the medicine is fully open to legal and legitimate generic manufacture.

As John Adams said, “Facts are pesky things.”

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