(NaturalNews) The President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, announced Sunday that he planned to override a number of pharmaceutical patents in order to provide more affordable medicines to the People of Ecuador. In a statement, Correa explained that access to medicine is a "human right" and that he intends to seek "compulsory licenses" to acquire medications considered indispensible.
Under current World Trade Organization rules, countries have the right to seek such "compulsory licenses" that override traditional patent rights. Current WTO rules require that such countries negotiate with the patent owners to determine fair compensation.
This action by Correa joins Ecuador's recent declaration that it would not honor the illegitimate debt that had been placed on the country by foreign banks (under previous administrations). This bold move allowed Ecuador to renegotiate its debt for roughly 30 cents on the dollar. Much of that debt was considered "predatory debt" by academics who understand the way the World Bank and other first-world banking interests attempt to place debt burdens on many smaller nations as a tactic for exerting long-term influence over their economies.
The book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
by John Perkins explains in great detail how first-world nations have routinely interfered with the nations of Central and South American through predatory lending practices.
Pharmaceutical pricing is also considered "predatory" by many observers, including NaturalNews. By definition, prices on brand-name pharmaceuticals are "monopoly prices." That's because patent protection grants drug
companies a monopoly market for a period of roughly 20 years. During that time, drug companies extract as much money as possible for their products, even from poorer nations whose population can barely afford to pay such prices.
Opinion from Mike Adams, current resident of Ecuador
As a full-time resident of Ecuador and a person who sees the day-to-day medical needs of the population in the southern region of Ecuador, I applaud Correa's bold action to bypass the predatory patent practices of pharmaceutical companies. I agree with Correa that access to medicine, as well as access to an education, are basic human rights.
I've long stated on this website that medicine should not be pursued for profit
. The entire business of medicine, in my opinion, would better serve the People if it were structured as a non-profit industry, and medicines in particular should be made available to people at or near their actual cost of production rather than a profiteering prices.
Many price markups on pharmaceuticals are astronomical. Some pills that cost literally two cents to manufacture are sold for over $100 each in the United States. That equates to a price markup of 500,000%. Of course, drug companies have marketing and research costs to cover in this equation, but even then, the primary focus of the industry is to generate profit, not to generate health.
While some argue that drug companies need to earn huge profits to continue finding "cures" for serious diseases, in reality drug companies are far more focused now on inventing disease
than actually curing anything. Vaccines, psychiatric medications, cholesterol drugs and many other categories of medicines are now being aggressively pushed onto people who frankly don't need them (and who receive little or no medical benefit from them). Today, the pharmaceutical industry is increasingly focused on selling drugs to people who aren't even sick
This is the core problem with the for-profit drug industry: As long as profits can be made by selling drugs, these companies will always try to find new ways to market more drugs to more people at higher prices. Medical necessity is replaced by a profit motive, and the end result is that drug prices become entirely unaffordable to all but the wealthiest nations in the world. Even then, countries like the USA are going broke in large part due to their out-of-control expenditures of patented pharmaceuticals.
For any nation to protect itself from the predatory pricing practices (and disease mongering tendencies) of the pharmaceutical industry, it must do exactly what Ecuador's president Correa is now attempting to do: Stand up against the predatory pricing practices of drug companies and take bold action to protect the interests of the people against these profit-seeking corporations.
As an American living in Ecuador
, I applaud Correa's actions and hope that he finds success in pursuing this course of action for the benefit of the People.
It's also worth noting, by the way, that if the People of Ecuador would eat more traditional Ecuadorian diets and reject the influence of American processed foods and fast foods, they would suffer from far lower rates of cancer, diabetes, obesity and heart disease. The American population is sick in large part because it has followed the so-called "Standard American Diet." Any nation that embraces a similar diet will, within one generation, find itself experiencing similar rates of degenerative disease.