PUBLICATION        National Post
   DATE               Tue 14 Oct 2003
   SECTION/CATEGORY   Financial Post: Comment
   PAGE NUMBER        FP11
   BYLINE             James Orbinski

   HEADLINE: Rock is right on AIDS patent plan

   Re: Allan Apotex's New Drug Scheme, Oct. 2.

   In 2001, Allan Rock and his U.S. equivalent, Tommy Thompson,
   simultaneously reached the same conclusion in response to the then
   very real anthrax scare: Patents do not override public health
   needs, and public health priorities cannot be held hostage to
   companies that seek to profit rapaciously from actual or immanent
   public emergencies. AIDS, TB, malaria and other epidemics in the
   developing world are today actual public health priorities that
   are destroying nations.

   Contrary to Mr. Corcoran's argument, pharmaceutical companies are
   not "people." The millions of Africans and others dying of
   treatable infectious diseases in the developing world are.

   Mr. Corcoran writes with a near-ideological zeal, as though patent
   law is immutable, God-given and beyond adaptability to human
   necessities. It is none of these, but like any law, must change to
   meet genuine human needs. On Aug. 30 of this year, Canada and
   every other member state of the WTO recognized this and agreed to
   an imperfect but politically feasible interpretation of the 2001
   WTO Doha declaration on access to life-saving essential medicines.
   This 2003 agreement is the basis for Mr. Rock's initiative on
   amending Canadian patent law to meet fully legal WTO TRIPS
   restrictions and flexibilities to patent rights.

   To Paul Martin, Ministers Graham, Pettigrew and Rock: Bravo, you
   are doing your job -- balancing private and public interests, and
   ensuring that the public interest is always the first priority. To
   Mr. Corcoran: Ideology has rarely solved human problems -- more
   often than not, it creates them.

   James Orbinski, associate professor, St. Michaels' Hospital,
   University of Toronto, past international president of Medecins
   Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders.

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