07 May 2007

Drug policy, point counterpoint

No, not those kind of drugs.

Today's senate action managed to block the importation of cheaper FDA approved medicines from Canada, Australia, Europe, Japan and New Zealand...

Meanwhile Brazil's president Lula broke the patent on Merck's AIDS drug Efavirenz allowing the government to buy a generic version from labs certified by the World Health Organization.

Senate Blocks Bid to Allow Drug Imports - Forbes.com
By ANDREW BRIDGES 05.07.07, 5:55 PM ET

The Senate effectively killed a bid to allow consumers to buy their prescription medicines abroad Monday, requiring U.S. officials to certify the safety and effectiveness of such drugs.

The certification amendment, passed on a 49-40 vote, would require health officials to do something they have long said they cannot.

Because of that, the vote undercut a second measure that would permit prescription drug imports from Food and Drug Administration-approved sources in Canada, Australia, Europe, Japan and New Zealand.

The Bush administration opposes allowing imports of prescription drugs, and the White House had threatened a veto.

Bloomberg.com: Latin America
Brazil Breaks Patent on Merck's Efavirenz AIDS Drug
By Katia Cortes

May 4 (Bloomberg) -- Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva broke the patent on Merck & Co's AIDS drug Efavirenz after the company's offer to cut prices failed to satisfy demands from the country's health ministry.

Lula, in a presidential palace ceremony today in Brasilia, signed a law allowing the government to buy a generic version of Efavirenz from laboratories certified by the World Health Organization. The government would consider a new proposal from Merck should the company choose to make one, Health Minister Jose Gomes Temporao said in an interview.

``Our decision today involves this one drug, but we can take the same steps with any other that we consider necessary,'' Lula said. ``It doesn't matter if it's a U.S., German, French, Brazilian or Argentine company.''

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