18 Feb 2003 03:23
Brown issues warning to drugs giants
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, widely regarded as Prime Minister Tony Blair's right hand man, said that the issue was not only one of morality, but also one of international security. His comments to the Guardian came after ministers from over 20 countries met at informal free-trade talks in Tokyo in the hope of breaking an impasse between the United States and the developing world. "It's time that all recognise the responsibilities to help avoid unnecessary deaths and that means we've got to get an agreement for the trade round," Brown was quoted as saying. "Nobody can claim special interests or special privileges when people are dying unnecessarily," he added. Brown is known as the Iron Chancellor for his tough fiscal policy and is widely held to have designs on the post of prime minister. Weekend discussions in Tokyo edged closer to finding a global pact, allowing poor countries without domestic drug industries to override patent rights to import vital medicines to tackle epidemics including AIDS. The United States, under pressure from its powerful drugs industry, last year blocked World Trade Organisation proposals aimed at giving millions in the poor world access to affordable medicine. Brown said that world security could not be guaranteed while disease and poverty remained. "I think any world where you've got poverty, ill health and disease which is avoidable, standing side by side with what people see as comfort and plenty, cannot be stable," he said. The Guardian said Brown was struck not only by the AIDS crisis, but also by the high mortality rate in some countries from diseases that are more easily treated, such as malaria and tuberculosis. "That is a terrible indictment on a world that has the technology, the drugs and the resources to be able to solve these problems," he said.
How can we manifest peace on earth if we do not include everyone (all races, all nations, all religions, both sexes) in our vision of Peace?
The WorldPeace Banner
To the WorldPeace Peace Page