Tuesday, February 10, 2004

A bitter pill from The Age:

While sugar growers won no new access...Mr Vaile said Australia had protected sensitive areas, including the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, local content for the film and television industries and export monopolies for wheat, sugar and grains, which the US wanted to eliminate.
But US pharmaceutical companies won significant changes to the scheme, including the right for an "outside review" of decisions excluding their drugs from the PBS, extended patent periods, and consultations when makers of generic drugs apply for approval. Mr Howard insisted that these changes would not raise the cost of the scheme.
The fine details in the agreement's text will not be available for another month or more. It will then be put before Congress.

What it boils down to is the US refusing to buy cheap sugar without Australia agreeing to buy expensive drugs. I wonder how long it will take Howard to capitulate?

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