BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Americas
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-------------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

Monday, 19 March, 2001, 20:26 GMT
Cuba issues double trade challenge
President Fidel Castro
Fidel Castro wants countries to ignore US patent laws
Cuban President Fidel Castro says Cuba has developed its own Aids drugs and will help Brazil and South Africa challenge US patent laws to provide cheaper treatments for Aids sufferers.

Referring to the multi-pill treatments, the president confirmed that Cuba is producing "those famous cocktails", and challenged multinational pharmaceutical companies to protest.


I would like to hear a protest so I could grin from ear to ear

President Castro
The US in particular has been accused of using patent laws to try to stop developing nations producing drugs generically, insisting they import American-made drugs at Western prices.

In a separate development, Castro said that Cuba would ignore US trademark laws and start producing its own Bacardi-brand rums as a reprisal for "the theft of our Havana Club brand."

His comments follow the Bacardi corporation's announcement that it would produce a Havana Club brand rum for sale in the United States.

Loopholes

Last week, the European Parliament called for the creation of loopholes in patent laws that keep high-priced Aids drugs from sufferers in the developing countries, particularly South Africa.

Aids drugs
Calls for cheaper drugs are becoming louder
It also urged 39 pharmaceutical companies to withdraw their court challenge to a 1997 South African law that allows the government to licence and manufacture affordable "generic" versions of expensive brand-name drugs.

Brazil has also launched production of generic anti-viral drugs in order to provide government-subsidised treatment to tens of thousands of people infected with the virus.

"We will fully support Brazil and South Africa, encouraging them to ignore US patents and produce the drugs to save the millions of lives that can be saved," said President Castro.

Official Aids treatments can cost between $10,000 and $15,000 per patient per year, far beyond the reach of a huge majority of sufferers.

By comparison, generic treatments can cost as little as $1 per sufferer per day.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

15 Mar 01 | Africa
Analysis: Aids drugs and the law
03 Feb 01 | Americas
Brazil in US Aids drugs row
07 Nov 00 | Americas
Latin America 'faces Aids epidemic'
24 Oct 00 | Aids
Aids drugs factfile
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Americas stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Americas stories