U.S., Switzerland, Singapore Propose Elimination of Tariffs on Medications
February 28, 2006
The U.S., Switzerland and Singapore are urging countries to end tariffs on medicines and medical devices under a new world trade deal, U.S. trade officials said on Monday, Reuters Health reports. A World Health Organization report in 2005 found that many countries burdened with such diseases as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria still are imposing tariffs on imports of medicines and medical devices, Peter Allgeier, U.S. ambassador to the World Trade Organization, said. Eliminating tariffs and taxes on essential drugs probably would "save thousands of lives across the developing world," according to a recent joint research paper by the American Enterprise Institute and the Brookings Institution, Reuters Health reports. Allgeier said developing countries could cut the cost of drugs for their citizens if they ended tariffs, which make up only a small portion of government revenue. WTO and its 149 members aim to reach a new world trade deal by the end of the year (Reuters Health, 2/27).
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