South American/US War on Drugs goes both directions

The US allocates significant funds to eradicating drug production and interdicting transport of drugs from South America. As I wrote recently, US drug companies have aggressively lobbied to promote their interests in foreign trade deals. The issue has come to light recently as US/Latin American trade deals are close to signature. It’s not clear whether the deals would have a negative impact on the health of foreign citizens or not, but the perception is there.

From today’s Wall Street Journal:

Thousands of Peruvians protested against a proposed U.S. trade pact that [could] put medicines out of reach of millions of poor people.

Farmers, doctors and politicians, some dressed as ghosts and skeletons, marched through central Lima to decry a free trade deal they see as a way of bullying Peru to allow U.S. companies to dominate its markets.

Like any other industry, the pharmaceutical industry is welcome to promote its interests to the US Trade Representative. Let’s hope the Trade Representative can sort out the US’s interests and not let the pharmaceutical industry make policy, as appears to have happened. I’d like to know what other interests or principles the US gave up in order to get the pharmaceutical provisions.

July 14, 2005

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