Sunday 22 December 2002

Cheney Blocks Worldwide Cheap Drugs Deal

As if we needed more reasons to loath Dick Cheney, here's a classic case of capitalism gone mad!

Merry Christmas Dick, I hope you choke on your turkey!

Dick Cheney, the US vice-president, last night blocked a global deal to provide cheap drugs to poor countries, following intense lobbying of the White House by America's pharmaceutical giants.

Faced with furious opposition from all the other 140 members of the World Trade Organisation, the US refused to relax global patent laws which keep the price of drugs beyond reach of most developing countries.

Talks at the WTO's Geneva headquarters collapsed last night after the White House ruled out a deal which would have permitted a full range of life-saving drugs to be imported into Africa, Asia and Latin America at cut-price costs.

"The United States has announced it cannot join the consensus," the Brazilian negotiator, Antonio de Aguiar Patriota, said.

Sources in Geneva said last night that the negotiating strategy had come straight from the White House, with Mr Cheney seizing the reins from America's trade negotiator, Robert Zoellick.

Full story...