Friday, August 12, 2005

Here's but one reason CAFTA is hurting the people it claims to help.

In November 2004, Guatemala's Congress repealed a law that gave brand-name prescription drugs protection from generic competition. The law had allowed brand-name companies to conceal data that generic companies would use to bring their own versions to market, and public health activists hailed the move as a step toward greater access to essential medicines. But four months later, legislators reversed themselves and put those protections back in place. The protests that followed led to many injuries and one death. Why did this small nation, where cheap generic drugs have been key to treating one of Latin America's largest HIV-positive populations, change course? In a word: CAFTA. Guatemala changed its laws in order to become part of the Central American Free Trade Agreement, which encompasses five Central American countries and the Dominican Republic.

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