Thursday, July 08, 2004

Trade Watch: First Shrimp and now Viagra?

According to the BBC, China has struck down the patent protection of the Pfizer impotence drug Viagra.

Sources at China's state intellectual property office said Pfizer had failed to provide enough information on exactly how the active ingredient - a substance called Sildenafil Sitrate - was manufactured.

It said several Chinese companies had filed complaints, and the authorities had now ruled in favour of allowing them to copy the drug.

Pfizer is reported to be appealing against the decision, arguing that it was not asked for the information when the patent was granted, three years ago.

I think we can see this action as part of an escalating tit for tat trade war that's brewing. Afterall we just slammed foreign shrimp farmers with massive tariffs. So much for 'free trade'. Of course that regime wasn't sustainable anyway, hiding as it was massive market distortions from government intervention. We let them buy a lot of debt so we can borrow money cheaper. They borrow our debt in order to depress their currency so they can sell more to us to improve their economic development. Then when someone on our side complains because domestic producers are getting keelhauled over the artificially less costly foreign competition, then we put a bandaid on it with subsidies or tariffs. The whole system is rigged. One day the house of cards will come down though.

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