[Ip-health] WSJ on USTR paper (Picks up PC quote)
pmaybarduk at citizen.org
Mon Sep 12 16:04:41 PDT 2011
Wall Street Journal (behind a pay wall; PC quote at end) - SEPTEMBER 12, 2011, 6:08 P.M. ET
US Unveils Plan To Improve Access To Medicine In Trans-Pacific Trade Zone
By Tom Barkley of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)--The Obama administration unveiled Monday a trade proposal it said would improve access to life-saving medicines while protecting the intellectual property of drug makers in the Asia-Pacific region.
Addressing concerns that the creation of a Trans-Pacific free-trade zone could hurt access to low-cost drugs for the region's poor, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said the proposal strikes a balance between promoting access and innovation.
"These Trans-Pacific Partnership proposals will help to drive access to innovative and generic medicines, through tariff cuts, intellectual property provisions, and a host of other measures that will help to boost the availability of life-saving innovative and generic medicines to people throughout the Asia-Pacific region," Kirk said in a statement, as negotiators from the nine countries met in Chicago for the eighth round of talks on the trade deal.
The centerpiece of the drug proposal is to create an "access window" requiring pharmaceutical companies to bring medicines into the trade zone within a period of time, in return for intellectual property protections in those countries.
The U.S. is also seeking to enhance legal certainty for generic drug makers, eliminate tariffs on medicines and crack down on trade in counterfeit drugs.
However, fair-trade advocates were critical of the plan, arguing that instead of boosting access to medicine, the real result would be to help pharmaceutical companies gain access to markets.
"This paper is primarily window dressing for USTR's pro-Big Pharma, anti-access to medicines status quo," said Peter Maybarduk, director of Public Citizen's global access to medicines program.
The U.S. hopes to have the broad outlines for the Trans-Pacific trade bloc by the time President Barack Obama hosts Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders in November. The other countries involved in the talks include Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Brunei, Malaysia, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
-By Tom Barkley, Dow Jones Newswires; 202-862-9275; tom.barkley at dowjones.com<mailto:tom.barkley at dowjones.com>
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