U.S. must get generic drugs to the dying

It is possible to save the life of a person with HIV/AIDS for only 37 cents per day. The price of a U.S. stamp.

However, this will not become a reality for those living in countries where HIV/AIDS is destroying not only individuals but families, communities, cultures and their country’s future if we do not collectively act to get drugs to those in need (“WHO says world fails to get drugs to AIDS patients,” Wednesday).

I am appalled to witness that we, as the richest country in the world, are attempting to skirt around the WTO agreement, which the U.S. signed, that drug patents can become invalid in times of health crises. The HIV/AIDS epidemic has reached staggering proportions. How many people must die while the U.S. attempts to protect the interests of pharmaceutical giants and not protect people? When a generic drug costs as little as $150 per year, it is more than disheartening to see brand name drugs costing more that $5,000 per year.

So let me get this straight. The U.S. demonstrates to the world that we can not quench our thirst for foreign produced goods such as clothing and most every item in our homes. However, Bush’s administration believes it is unsatisfactory to have other countries produce medicines that can save millions of lives at a lower cost. Where is our conscience? Generic drugs can make a difference between communities thriving or dying.

Teresa Rugg

Snohomish

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