fast tracking of this deal. This time the document is ready in draft and not
yet released but has been read in part by some groups in the media. I
originally felt that if this partnership was going to happen with or without us
that it might be preferable to opt in, but I always had reservations about the
strong protections for Big Pharma that were being leaked.
that not much was changed in relation to the protections written into this
agreement for the pharmaceutical industry. What began as an attempt to protect
intellectual property such as patented drugs, trademarked music, written
materials, patented inventions, and original artwork has, because of the laser-like
focus of the pharmaceutical companies been molded into a form that most
benefits Big Pharma and which makes it very likely that there will be large
increases in drug prices for the rest of us.
A recent draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade deal would give
U.S. pharmaceutical firms unprecedented protections against competition from
cheaper generic drugs, possibly transcending the patent protections in U.S.
POLITICO has obtained a draft copy of TPP’s intellectual property chapter as
it stood on May 11, at the start of the latest negotiating round in Guam. While
U.S. trade officials would not confirm the authenticity of the document, they
downplayed its importance, emphasizing that the terms of the deal are likely to
change significantly as the talks enter their final stages. Those terms are
still secret, but the public will get to see them once the twelve TPP nations
reach a final agreement and President Obama seeks congressional approval.
Still, the draft chapter will provide ammunition for critics who have warned
that TPP’s protections for pharmaceutical companies could dump trillions of
dollars of additional health care costs on patients, businesses and governments
around the Pacific Rim. The highly technical 90-page document, cluttered with
objections from other TPP nations, shows that U.S. negotiators have fought
aggressively and, at least until Guam, successfully on behalf of Big Pharma.
The draft text includes provisions that could make it extremely tough for
generics to challenge brand-name pharmaceuticals abroad. Those provisions could
also help block copycats from selling cheaper versions of the expensive
cutting-edge drugs known as “biologics” inside the U.S., restricting treatment
for American patients while jacking up Medicare and Medicaid costs for American
“There’s very little distance between what Pharma wants and what the U.S. is
demanding,” said Rohit Malpini, director of policy for Doctors Without Borders.
would put a real crimp in the ability of less expensive drugs to get to
market,” said K.J. Hertz, a lobbyist for AARP. “People are going to look at
this very closely in Congress.”
adds a few more insights into how the trade agreement might affect people’s
health care if this section of the agreement goes forward as the ‘leaked’ draft
The Obama administration has lauded the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership
(TPP) as the most progressive trade deal in history. But a recently leaked
chapter of the draft deal, obtained by Politico, reportedly shows a U.S. negotiating team devoted
to protecting pharmaceutical industry profits at the expense of cheaper generic
drugs in the 12 countries affected.
The provisions pushed by American trade representatives in the May version
of the TPP’s intellectual property chapter included measures that would
strengthen patent protections across borders, Politico reports. Known as patent
linkage, these rules prevent a country from approving cheaper generic drugs if
a patent-holder has filed a legal challenge in a member state.
In particular, the pharmaceutical industry has argued that the patent-protection measures of the TPP would
enable companies to continue making multi-billion-dollar investments in new
drugs. PhRMA, the lobbying arm of the pharmaceutical industry, has emerged as
one of the top supporters of the TPP and similar deals.
That lobbying has paid off. Patient advocates contend that the U.S.
negotiators have fought primarily for the interests of the drug lobby in TPP
negotiations. In a letter last year, representatives 11 organizations including
the AARP and the Medicare Rights Center argued that the deal “puts too
much emphasis on drug industry priorities, and does not give equal weight to
consumer priorities such as prescription drug affordability, safety, efficacy,
For me these
concessions to Big Pharma companies and the resulting increases in already
almost out-of-reach drug prices would seem to be a deal breaker. If this topic
is not addressed in the final document and fairly drastically revised I would
not recommend that our Congress accept this trade agreement. I do not have a
problem with preventing other nations from producing knock-off generics. We
have seen some of the possible dangers in Chinese toy production which used
lead paint and similar errors would most likely be even worse when the product
is a drug.
Here are two more
articles, with one showing the Australia response to this possible coup for the