Half-Baked & Benighted

  • by: |
  • 09/09/2005

Senators Stabenow (D, MI) and Vitter (R, LA) both need better staff work and a remedial course in patent law. Both are offering up H.R. 2862 (aka the Northup amendment). Purpose — “To prevent the United States Trade Representative from negotiating future trade agreements that prevent the United States from changing United States patent law to allow the importation of pharmaceutical products.” It’s a familiar canard — and a dangerous one, as intellectual property rights of US companies are under attack across the globe. Their position, that the USTR shouldn’t have the authority to negotiate agreements that enshrine US patent law, is half-baked and benighted since that’s precisely what Congress instructed the USTR to do in the Bipartisan Trade Promotion Authority Act! Debbie and David are fixated on the recent agreements USTR negotiated with Australia, Singapore and Morocco — and name these three accords specifically in their loony legislation. But the truth is that the provisions in these agreements apply to ALL patented products. It’s also especial peculiar since Australia already has its own law prohibiting the export of pharmaceuticals (Hello Byron!) and neither Senator Stabenow nor Senator Vitter have included Singapore or Morocco as recommended nations of export on drug importation bills they’ve either authored or co-sponsored. H.R. 2862 is a clear choice between truth or consequnces. And,as the saying goes, results are what you expect, and consequences are what you get.


Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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