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Cheap drugs or other products for the poor in the North and South of the world, but according to the rules of the free market and in compliance with patent laws. It is the "liberal" recipe for reforming international intellectual property law. An interview with the German-born philosopher at the head of the «Patent2» project

«About 18 million human beings killed by diseases that we can prevent, cure or treat. This equates to 50,000 avoidable deaths per day, a third of all human deaths. Hundreds of millions more are sentenced to death from these diseases. The most important causal factor affecting this distribution is poverty. Almost all avoidable deaths occur in poor countries, among the poorest inhabitants of these countries. Thus writes Thomas Pogge - professor of philosophy at Yale University, student and theoretical heir of John Rawls - in the second edition of one of the academic bestsellers of recent years: "Global poverty and human rights" (World Poverty and Human Rights, forthcoming for Politics Press). Among the most important exponents of a renewed cosmopolitanism, a compass that should guide the reform of global institutions that guarantee universal social rights to all human beings, Thomas Pogge is now leading a project that denounces the current international legislation on pharmaceutical patents because it subordinates to the interests of the pharmaceutical multinationals and the governments of the richest countries. We met him at the Australian National University, one of the university centers involved in Patent2, the project carried out by Pogge which tries to bend the global monopolistic management of pharmaceutical patents to the medical needs of the world's poor.
Professor Pogge, why does a liberal philosopher care about pharmaceutical innovation?
The recent globalization of the patent monopoly regime has profoundly changed the mechanisms of pharmaceutical innovation in a way that deprives people of the freedom to produce, sell and buy new medicines at market prices. The current regulations are indeed a boon for the wealthy and pharmaceutical companies because they can sell their products at higher prices. But for the poor, there is no corresponding advantage, since they are deprived of their freedom for the sole purpose of stimulating the production of medicines to which the majority of the world's population does not have access.
What is the role of multinational corporations in imposing unfavorable trade agreements for the poor?
The globalization of the patent monopoly that took place with the 1994 Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreements, which were a part of the WTO treaty, was supported by the governments of the richest countries, which were under pressure from companies they made the bulk of their profits from trading intellectual property in software, pharmaceutical innovation, agricultural trade. However, these companies are not the only ones responsible for imposing unfair trade agreements on the world's poor. Indeed, citizens of rich countries have been too easily persuaded that what is good for their businesses is also good for them. Of course this is what many economists tell us. But that economists justify the conduct of the rich today is no more surprising than what theologians did in days gone by.
What do you think of the initiative of countries such as China, Brazil and India that are trying to reform the current Trips regime to leave it up to national governments

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Fedaiisf Federazione delle Associazioni Italiane degli Informatori Scientifici del Farmaco e del Parafarmaco