Protest Against US AIDS Drug Policy in Developing Nations
Fourteen AIDS activists were arrested Wednesday in front of Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky’s office during a protest against US policies inhibiting poor countries from getting AIDS drugs. The protestors claim that US policy, which sanctions countries that sell generic brands of AIDS drugs, is driven by pressure from large pharmaceutical companies that seek to maintain exclusive sales rights for their name-brand drugs. While US officials point out the need to defend US copyright laws overseas, activists point out that most citizens of poor countries simply cannot afford name-brand AIDS drugs. In the face of the staggering numbers of HIV and AIDS infected people in Africa and other parts of the developing world, restrictions on the distribution of AIDS drugs is deplorable.