News Roundup [abridged Versions Appear In The Paper Journal]

US threatens Australia over plan to block extensions to drug patents

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: (Published 02 December 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:1306
  1. Bob Burton
  1. Canberra

    The US government has warned Australia that legislative provisions seeking to ensure generic drugs are not blocked by frivolous patent extensions to branded drugs could trigger a trade dispute between the two countries.

    The warning comes as the Australian minister for trade, Mark Vaile, plans to push through what he describes as “minor changes” to legislation implementing the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement in the final parliamentary sitting for 2004.

    In late August, the Australian government reluctantly accepted amendments insisted on by opposition parties in the Senate that seek to prevent “evergreening” of patents, in which companies get a new patent for minor changes to a drug coming off patent, …

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