Jamie Love: Not a Bad Dancer

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  • 01/25/2007
In his blog in today's Huffington Post, Jamie Love implies it's ok to seize patents for all sorts of reasons. The fact is, there is only one reason, one measurable objective -- two actually -- that any nation can undertake to seize a patent before it expires and license to another manufacturer. First, it must demonstrate that their is an observable public health benefit that will be derived by that action as opposed to purely political gain. It's one thing to have a cheaper drug on a market. Another thing to have the infrastructure to deliver high-tech products. For instance, it would be nice to have Avastin available at discount prices in developing countries but you need infusion centers and trained technicians. Ditto Gleevec or Plavix.

Similarly, the whole HIV compulsory license thing has been a big fat joke on the developing world. The only people who have really benefit -- apart from those who are involved in the President's Global HIV plan and Gates activities -- are the profiteers in and out of the governments and the counterfeiters, those who mark up products fake or otherwise. The generic makers have developed unworkable and unsafe meds that have contributed to drug resistant HIV strains.

Now to top it all off, in his latest round of blogging...he misrepresents the truth. What a shock. He claims that Secretary Mike Leavitt testified he supported compulsory licensing. Here's the actual exchange between Congressman Tom Allen from Maine and Leavitt who just finished telling the House Commerce subcomm on Health that the prez wants to spend $7 billion to boost production of avian flu vaccine and anti-viral production

This video clip begins with Leavitt saying that Roche has promised not to let intellectual property be a barrier to generic production - Roche is willing to work with other companies that are able and prepared to produce the drug. He stresses that the drug is very difficult to produce, involving complicated steps, sometime dangerous - explosions are required in some of them. The Secretary concludes "It is not likely… that we will see any other manufacturers of Tamiflu certainly in a year and more likely two years. And that would be true in this country or any other country."

Allen responds that today the U.S. has insufficient manufacturing capacity for antiflu drugs, and Leavitt agrees. Allen tells Leavitt that on August 30, 2003 the WTO agreed on a set of rules under which countries with insufficient manufacturing capacity could import needed pharmaceuticals produced under compulsory license, but we opted out and persuaded other countries to opt out as well. The question from Allen: was this a wise decision? Leavitt answered that in times of a pandemic each country will only have access to what it can produce domestically, because each country will want to keep and use whatever it has inside its borders.

"Finally, Allen asks Leavitt if he would be prepared to issue a compulsory license if Roche failed to adequately expand production? Leavitt said that he did not think this would be needed, but he thinks its important for Americans to know that the federal government will do everything necessary to protect people in this country."

From this Jamie deduces that Leavitt is for compulsory licensing. What some people will do for America....

Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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