Mexican Congress Votes Against Bill to Loosen Patent Protection on Cancer, AIDS Drugs
May 2, 2003
Mexico's Congress rejected 177-172 a bill that would have loosened patent protection on cancer and AIDS drugs after critics said the measure would have benefited relatives of a lawmaker whose party proposed it. The proposal would have cut drug companies' current 20-year patent rights on medicines to 10 years, after which AIDS and cancer drugs would be in the public domain, with a 20 percent maximum royalty to be paid to patent owners. The lower house instead approved by a wider margin a clause that lets the government temporarily license generic production of patented drugs "in the case of serious diseases that can cause a national emergency or threaten national security." The bill's sponsor, the Mexican Environmentalist Green Party (PVEM), said drug companies are making huge profits and that their medicines are too expensive for most people in Mexico, where the minimum wage is $4.20 a day. Critics, however, noted that Victor Gonzalez Torres, uncle of PVEM leader Jorge Gonzalez Torres, is a leading shareholder of Farmacias Similares, Mexico's largest generic drug store chain.Adapted from:
04.29.2003; Mark Stevenson
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.