Industry warns Brazil on AIDS patents

June 16, 2005 at 2:42 PM

WASHINGTON, June 16 (UPI) -- Brazil's threat to break patents on various AIDS drugs is prompting a backlash from drug industry groups in the United States.

The Institute for Trade, Standards, and Sustainable Development and a group called Defenders of Property Rights Thursday warned canceling patents would violate the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Treaty, to which Brazil is a signatory.

The two groups, backed by corporate interests, also called on U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman to consider sanctions against Brazil if it invokes the treaty's "health emergency" clause to cancel AIDS drugs patents.

Brazil's AIDS infection rate of 0.6 percent is virtually equal to that of the United States' 0.5 percent rate, straining the legitimacy of any claim to a real health emergency, the institute said.

"This state-sponsored piracy must be stopped," said Nancie Marzulla of DPR. "If negotiations fail to convince Brazil to back down, the U.S. trade representative should consider sanctions as a serious possibility."

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