AIDS activists protest drug patent protections
Members of ACT UP on Tuesday protected against patent protections on anti-HIV medications outside a Washington, D.C., hotel where discussions on the Central American Free Trade Agreement were taking place, Dow Jones International news reports. The agreement would eliminate tariffs and other barriers to trade, but would include the imposition of intellectual property rights on medicines. Activists say enforcing those rights would prevent poor countries in Latin America from being able to make or import generic versions of antiretrovirals to treat HIV infection. The deal also would require generic drug manufacturers to redo clinical trials to obtain marketing approval of their cheaper versions of already approved medications, which would create other barriers to the marketing of generic drugs, the activists say. Protestors dressed in hospital gowns and blocked traffic. About a dozen protestors were arrested outside the hotel. The talks are scheduled to continue through December 17.