Why Can’t We Have Nice Things Like India?

By Bill Maher

One of the topics of discussion during President Obama’s visit to India last week was their lax patent laws regarding pharmaceuticals. Now, I understand India’s patent laws about as well I do their goofy movies where all the guys seem like gay Elvis impersonators, but I do know this: According to the World Health Organization, the same AIDS treatment that costs $10,000 a year in the US and Europe costs under $200 in India. This makes the pharmaceutical industry, and the US Trade Office, very unhappy. So for the past few months, the US has been pressuring India to revamp its patent laws, which would make many current generics in India far too expensive for both India and the rest of the developing world to afford.   

I get that drugs are expensive to develop, and the makers need some financial incentive, but the current system, where the same drug costs a vastly different amount based on where you live and what the patent laws are in your country, seems immoral. Of course Indians should have access to $200 AIDS drugs – but so should Americans!