Lawmakers, groups bid to remove Israel from watch list


U.S. lawmakers joined Jewish groups in asking the Bush administration to remove Israel from an intellectual property watch list.

Israel is slated to be included in the U.S. Trade Representative’s 2008 priority watch list, at the behest of pharmaceutical companies seeking to restrict Israel’s manufacture of generic drugs.

A letter last month from five Jewish groups – United Jewish Communities, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, B’nai B’rith International, the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League said placing Israel on the watch list would ignore the reforms Israel has introduced recently, including five-year data exclusivity on innovative drugs.

“Our view is that Israel has done a commendable job of balancing appropriate protections on pharmaceutical innovations with timely access to needed medicines for Israeli citizens,” said the letter from the Jewish groups. Similar letters were signed by 25 members of the U.S. House of Representatives and three U.S. senators.

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