Wall Street Journals examines the controversies involved in the protection of the patents rights of American pharmaceutical companies abroad. The story details the legal battle of drug manufacturers against a South African law, under which the country "can import cheap, generic versions of patented medicines - including powerful new drugs for treating AIDS - without permission from the patent owner." The report describes the desire of drug companies "to be seen as helping fight the global AIDS crisis" vs. their two main fears - "if the South Africa law is allowed to stand, other countries will be emboldened to pursue similar legislation," and if "poor countries are allowed to buy low-priced drugs, American consumers will demand the same." It also reveals that the "U.S. government is no longer standing firmly behind" the drug companies, although the industry has spent about $ 80 million "to help elect president Bush and a Republican Congress."
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