After many years of talking tough about how multinational pharma-cos are holding the developing world hostage, Brazil sets out its plan to start producing its own AIDS drugs in 2005.
Brazil says it will pay royalties, but when China and India own up to their AIDS and come to similar make-or-buy decisions, I wouldn't count on those countries volunteering to fork over any type of payment.
In the past, it has threatened to break their patents or import cheap copies in order to force companies to cut prices.
This time, however, the question is not just about price, but about the program's long-term viability, Chequer said.
The increasing reliance on foreign medicines means the Health Ministry now spends some 80 percent of its anti-AIDS budget on imported drugs, compared with 50 percent in 1999.
"When we're at 50 percent the situation is more favorable. But the situation is getting increasingly harder so that we are on the road to becoming hostages to multinational industry," Chequer [coordinator for the Health Ministry's sexually transmitted disease and AIDS department] said.
The IP battle is worldwide, and, in the context of seeds and medicines, is truly a matter of life and death for billions.
We are starting to see the full scope of third wave conflicts: nation-states have shooting wars with non-state armies; nation-states and multinational corporations (and their state sponsors) battles over economic advantage; confederations of state and corporate speculators attack national currencies; and an amorphous mass of "world citizens"/open source geeks/anti-globalization street fighters/peasant activists desperately try to make their voices heard and not get trampled when the elephants fight/mate.
Of course, those economic battles can turn military when there's enough at stake. . . but pharmaco profits are not on the same level as strategic control of combustible carbon resources.
Update: BoingBoing covers it too.