US trade deal threatens access to medicines

MSF Access Campaign

At the IAS conference in Washington, MSF launched a new report on the ongoing negotiations between the United States and the Asia Pacific region for a Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP).

The agreement in many ways mirrors the controversial Free Trade Agreement with the EU and India (reported in the March-April edition of HTB).

Encompassing eleven countries and slated for further expansion across the Asia Pacific region, the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) is a regional trade agreement that will “set the standard for 21st-century trade agreements going forward.”

The TPP negotiations are being conducted in secret, but leaked drafts of the U.S. negotiating positions show that the U.S. is demanding aggressive intellectual property (IP) provisions that would roll back public health safeguards enshrined in international trade law in favour of offering enhanced patent and data protections to pharmaceutical companies, making it harder to gain access to affordable generic drugs and hindering needed innovation.

If the U.S.’s demands are accepted, the TPP agreement will impose new IP rules that could severely restrict access to affordable, life-saving medicines for millions of people. Billed by President Obama as “a model not just for countries in the Pacific region, but for the world generally,” the TPP will set a damaging precedent with serious implications for developing countries where MSF works, and beyond.

For more information and to download the full MSF report please see:

Source: MSF. Trading away health: how the U.S.’s intellectual property demands for the trans-pacific partnership agreement threaten access to medicines (August 2012)

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