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Brazil, Argentina vs H1N1 Swine Virus: People must come before profits

This week at the Mercosur Summit held in Paraguay, leaders from Brazil and Argentina, despite their recent differences regarding bilateral trade relations, found common ground confronting the H1N1 Swine Flu Virus.

The respective presidents of both countries called for the removal of patent law restrictions that currently make the production of H1N1 vaccines the privileged activity of a handful of facilities, whose profits impoverish us all.

Yes, public health is important. Good public health policy is what guarantees that every piece of food that touches our lips is safe to consume, preferably free from Swine Flu. That faction of civil society that will argue that this will lead to communism, that patent laws are sacred, that innovation will be hurt, should first consider what the consequences would be of a Swine Flu epidemic arising from the farm lands of the developing world, where much of their precious fruits and vegetables are grown.

In the words of Argentina's Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, "it's beyond question that we're confronting a situation in which the needs of millions of people cannot be subordinated to economic interests."

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