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Book and Media Reviews
May 23/30, 2007

Health, Trade and Human Rights

JAMA. 2007;297(20):2287-2291. doi:10.1001/jama.297.20.2288

In recently concluded, but still undisclosed, trade agreement negotiations with the United States, the South Korean government demanded the capacity to establish a positive-list cost-effectiveness and reference pricing system (as exists in Australia) that values “innovation” in health care technology, for all citizens, rich and poor alike, by expert evaluation of its “objectively demonstrated therapeutic significance.” Yet US negotiators, contrary to resolutions of the Democrat-controlled Congress, resisted this Korean approach and instead imposed a mechanism for “evergreening” pharmaceutical patent royalties likely to impede access by the poor to “essential” generic medicines. Such developments are symptomatic of those carefully highlighted by Theodore MacDonald in Health, Trade and Human Rights.

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