HIV/AIDS DRUGS: Clinton Says Relax Trade Rules
President Clinton announced an initiative Wednesday at the World Trade Organization meeting that would relax American trade rules and help certain developing nations gain easier access to lifesaving HIV drugs, the New York Times reports. Although the U.S. long has backed pharmaceutical giants that have resisted compulsory licensing and parallel importing, Clinton said that the U.S. would allow countries to buy the drugs through "'parallel distributors' in other developing countries, where the same drugs are often made available more cheaply" (Sanger, New York Times, 12/2). He indicated that the U.S. Trade Representative's office and HHS would work together to assist developing countries in obtaining more affordable medications (Davis, Wall Street Journal, 12/2). Clinton said, "When HIV and AIDS epidemics are involved ... the United States will henceforward implement its health care policies and trade policies in a manner that ensures people in the poorest countries won't have to go without medicine they so desperately need" (Reuters, 12/1).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.