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July 11, 2005
Brazil and Abbott Labs Reach Deal
The BBC reports that Abbott has signed a deal with the Brazilian government for its anti-AIDS drug Kalestra. The deal involves gradual price reductions over six years and access to Kalestra's successor. Brazil projects savings of USD 250 million over that time period and anticipates continuing to offer free anti-retroviral drugs to all needy patients in the country.
As I noted back in June, drug patents push uncomfortably into areas where IP rights may come into conflict with governmental initiatives and even fundamental human rights. Anti-HIV campaigners had argued that Brazil's situation qualified under WTO rules for patent suspension. For now that will remain an academic debate; however, Brazil is far from the only country with a growing AIDS epidemic and other similar situations are likely to arise in the near future.
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