Bush says U.S. will support cheaper anti-HIV drugs
BY Advocate.com Editors
July 12 2003 12:00 AM ET
President Bush, speaking in South Africa on Wednesday, said he will support a moratorium on enforcing international patent protections on anti-HIV medications so that developing nations can have better access to life-saving drugs, Newsday reports. But a senior administration official clarified Bush's statement by saying that U.S. opposition to a World Trade Organization proposal that would allow developing nations to make or import cheaper generic versions of many drugs remains in effect. "The WTO agreement includes other drugs that are not AIDS drugs, such as aspirin and other commercial drugs," the official told Newsday. "That's why we oppose it." AIDS activists in South Africa greeted Bush's statement with skepticism, noting that the United States has long been a major opponent of generic drug treatment plans. "Whatever Bush said today, the U.S. is still blocking the production of these drugs," said Mark Heywood of South Africa's Treatment Action Campaign.