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Howard minister confused over drugs.

Howard Minister Confused Over Drugs


Laurie Brereton - Acting Shadow Minister for Trade


Media Statement - 11 April 2000


Industry Minister Nick Minchin's plan to change our drug patent regime was entirely at odds with the approach of Trade Minister Mark Vaile, Acting Shadow Trade Minister, Laurie Brereton, said today.


"Two weeks ago, the World Trade Organisation ruled illegal a Canadian law that allowed companies to manufacture and stockpile patented drugs during the last six months of the patent term," Mr Brereton said.


"When that decision was handed down, Mr Vaile described it as 'a timely reminder of how the WTO is working for Australia'. He said that the finding 'will benefit Australian consumers and Australian pharmaceutical manufacturers'.


"Yet last Friday, his Cabinet colleague, Mr Minchin, said that a similar proposal to Canada's was 'under very active consideration' by the Howard Government.


"Really? Does Mr Vaile know that Mr Minchin is actively considering such a proposal? How do either of them expect to get it past the WTO?


"Australians deserve more from Mr Minchin and Mr Vaile than this farce. Consumers and the pharmaceutical industry have a right to know where the Government really stands."


Authorised by Geoff Walsh, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.