Editorial, Opinion Piece Discuss Examples Of U.S. Favoring Private Sector Interests Over Public Health
New York Times: Why Breastfeeding Scares Donald Trump
“The push by United States delegates to the World Health Organization to water down or scrap a simple resolution meant to encourage breastfeeding in underdeveloped countries was many things — bullying, anti-science, pro-industry, anti-public health, and shortsighted, to name a few. But it was not surprising. In fact, it’s just one of several recent examples of the administration’s zeal for badgering weaker countries into tossing public health concerns aside to serve powerful business interests. … It’s tempting to call this approach to public health Trumpian, simply because it has all the key hallmarks: an obvious bow to rich and powerful companies, disregard for the needs of people who are poor or sick or both, and zero attention to potential long-term consequences. But, while they might not have gone so far when it comes to baby formula, previous administrations are just as guilty as the current one when it comes to drugs. Both the Obama and Clinton administrations also sought to keep drug prices high in low-income countries — the former by preventing generic markets in India and elsewhere, and the latter by supporting policies that kept the prices of HIV medications much higher than they needed to be. … Should American officials prevail in the current case, the outcome will be easy enough to guess: People will suffer. Industry profits will not” (7/9).
Los Angeles Times: The U.S. bullied the world to stop a pro-breastfeeding resolution? That’s the American way
David Dayen, contributing opinion writer to the Los Angeles Times
“…Through his many actions, President Trump is supposedly disrupting the ‘free trade’ consensus. But using trade as a hammer to obtain long-sought goals for corporate interests is as American as apple pie. That’s especially true when it comes to public health, which has perpetually taken a backseat to the desires of multinationals. For example, the Clinton administration’s trade office sought to protect pharmaceutical companies holding patent rights to HIV/AIDS drugs. … George W. Bush used similar tactics to defend drug company profits. And the Obama administration, if anything, escalated this policy, openly pressuring poor countries such as India over generic drugs. … Special pleading for baby formula companies, then, fits with a long bipartisan tradition of using trade policy to fulfill corporate wish lists, allowing a secret channel to avoid the sunlight of the legislative process. … The next president will surely try to reverse tariffs, mend fences with allies, and ‘restore’ the global trading system. But a return to the status quo will still give us the intolerable corporate-friendly trade agenda that led to the backlash in the first place” (7/9).