Guatemalan IP Laws – A Tug-of-War
Over Access to Medicines. Intellectual property (IP) rules, in particular data exclusivity (DE), have been a contentious
legislative issue in Guatemala since the late 1990s. Guatemala reversed its DE laws every year for 5 years, until the adoption of the Central American Free Trade Agreement in 2006.
Trade Policy Advice is Unbalanced – Dominated
by Corporate Advisers without Public Health Representation. The U.S. Trade Advisory Committee system, which provides advice on trade negotiations to USTR and the President,
is dominated by for-profit corporate interests, with virtually no representation from the public health community. As of the Summer of 2009, there were 27 representatives from the pharmaceutical industry alone on the various
U.S. trade advisory committees, compared to 20 in 2005; four representatives from the pharmaceutical industry sit on the
top Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations (ACTPN). Without the benefit of balanced representation in the public
interest from the public health community, U.S. policy reflected in Special 301 has prioritized commercial interests over access to
We call on the Administration to change course in using Special 301 regarding public health and access to medicines:
1. Ensure that Special 301 is not used to promote TRIPS-plus restrictions on access to medicines.
2. Adopt a policy guideline banning USTR from using Special 301 to punish nations which take regulatory action
to promote public health and access to medicines.
3. Prioritize public health in U.S. trade policy. Include health experts and advocates in all levels of trade policy
development, effective immediately.
4. Indicate support for Guatemala’s Decree 16-2003, and the Guatemalan government’s legal authority and
obligation to purchase medicines at the most affordable price in order to treat the largest number of people.