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Access to Medicines and the Peru, Panama and Colombia FTAs

Just as with CAFTA, the Bush administration is using "free trade agreements" (FTAs) with the Latin American countries of Peru, Panama and Colombia to try to boost profits for multinational pharmaceutical companies at the expense of the poor citizens of these countries who are literally dying for access to life-saving drugs.

The Bush negotiating team has made defending the profits of the pharmaceutical industry a top priority. To this end, they have pushed for several provisions in the FTA to increase the monopoly rights that pharmaceutical products have in the market. As long as brand-name drugs, which are typically more expensive, enjoy these monopoly rights, many in need of medicines will be unable to afford them. The Health Ministry of Peru estimates that, if all else remains the same (the budget for the Health Ministry, personal income levels, etc.), in the first five years after implementation, between 700,000 and 900,000 people will be excluded each year from receiving medicines because of this trade agreement.

International health organizations such as Doctors Without Borders have condemned the health provisions of these FTAs because they do not look out for the interests of the sick and the poor.

For more information, see the Citizen Trade Campaign's page on AFTA and Access to Medicines.

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