December 13, 2002

Ambassador Robert Zoellick
United States Trade Representative
600 17th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20508

Dear Ambassador Zoellick,

According to a number of news reports, the United States is seeking to limit
the scope of diseases addressed in the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public
Health, and in particular, the USTR is putting pressure on African countries
to narrow the Declaration to apply only to AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and
other infectious epidemics.  We are appalled by these reports.

What is the public health rationale for limiting the scope of the
Declaration to a handful of diseases?  Does the US believe children in
developing nations do not suffer from asthma? In Belo Horizonte, Brazil,
where in 1997 a ministerial for the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas was
held, asthma is the leading cause of hospitalization for children under
five.  Does the USTR believe that Africans do not suffer from cancer or
diabetes or other pervasive illnesses?  What values do we advertise when we
argue only infectious diseases that can reach Americans constitute "public
health problems?"

We are requesting confirmation from you that the United States is not taking
steps to limit the ability of developing nations to secure affordable
medicines for their people.  If the news reports are accurate, then we
request you immediately share with the American people and our global
partners the public health rationale underlying your actions.  As the United
States representative in negotiations critical to the health of tens of
millions of at risk individuals, you must affirm our nation's determination
to promote, rather than obstruct, the public good.


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  Member of Congress       Member of Congress   Member of Congress

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