Editor’s Note: The following article by Martin Khor, director of the Third World Network, describes a recent declaration by ten South American countries to protect access to life-saving medicines from expanded patent barriers. The declaration represents an important move to establish a united position in the face of U.S. and other developed country pressures to provide extended patent exclusivity to transnational pharmaceutical companies. Unfortunately, the declaration must be taken with a grain of salt, since several of the countries that signed on