First they came for pharmaceutical IP, but I wasn’t a pharmaceutical manufacturer. Then they came for the software IP, but I wasn’t a software developer. Then they came for entertainment IP, but I wasn’t a music producer. Then …
WASHINGTON (Reuters) — The U.S. Trade Representative could no longer craft trade deals making it harder to import American-made pharmaceuticals from nations such as Canada under a measure approved by congressional negotiators on Friday.
The compromise legislation is aimed at keeping the rancorous issue of drug reimportation out of trade pacts the United States reaches with other countries.
The Bush administration, which opposes the measure, said it would “substantially weaken U.S. efforts to protect intellectual property through U.S. trade agreements.”
The administration also said it would infringe on the president’s authority to negotiate trade deals.
The bill must be passed by the House and Senate before being sent to President George W. Bush for his signature.
The issue surfaced a few years ago in a free-trade agreement with Australia. The pact was approved overwhelmingly, despite the objection by many lawmakers to a provision that prevented the importation of drugs from Australia on which U.S. drug companies held patents.