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UK Solidarity Action with Cancun WTO Protests

Anti Bayer Group | 12.09.2003 14:06 | Globalisation | London

On Friday 12th September to coincide with the WTO talks in Cancun, a group of 15 concerned citizens occupied a Bayer office and stopped work there, to demonstrate against the corporatisation of health and agriculture, and the impact of WTO patent laws on agriculture and medications. This solidarity action took place for 2 reasons.

First, WTO drug patents laws which are to be reinforced in the next couple of years will mean that countries like India, Brazil and Thailand who make cheap versions of essential drugs will have to buy them at inflated prices from large multinational pharmaceutical companies. Bayer Pharmaceuticals is one such company.

Second, patenting of rice, maize, and other basic crop genes means that small-scale farmers in both the developing world and the rich west are no longer allowed to save seeds. Instead they will be tied into spending large amounts on buying seeds and pesticides from agricultural multinationals such as Bayer CropScience. As a result, farming for many of the world’s poor will become unsustainable and the trend towards large scale corporate farming enhanced.

Anna Quay one of the participants voiced her concerns:

“WTO patent laws, whether they concern drugs or plants are in the interests of large multinationals and rich nations. Their impact will be to increase world inequality, poverty, lack of access to cheap life-saving drugs, and wipe out opportunities for local subsistence farming.”

Photo to follow

For more information see: The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy

Anti Bayer Group