[Ip-health] Physicians and Scientists-in-Training Push for Access in TPP Negotiations

Reshma Ramachandran reshmagar at gmail.com
Fri Nov 22 10:41:08 PST 2013

Physicians and Scientists-in-Training Push for Access in TPP

*Sterling, VA*—According to recently leaked text of the Intellectual
Property Chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the United States
and other governments are prioritizing multinational corporate profits over
patients and consumers around the world including their own citizens. The
American Medical Student Association (AMSA), Australian Medical Student
Association, International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations
(IFMSA), IFMSA-Quebec, Student Global AIDS Campaign (SGAC), and
Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM) today sent a letter to
TPP negotiators urging them to ensure that all TPP provisions provide
future patients access to evidence-based and effective medicines and
procedures rather than forcing us, as practitioners, to compromise our
medical professionalism and the quality of care we are able to provide our
patients. *Letter is attached.*

On November 13, 2013, WikiLeaks released the entire consolidated
negotiating text for the Intellectual Property (IP) Chapter of the TPP.
These organizations, representing pharmacists, biomedical researchers, and
physicians-in-training from countries participating in TPP negotiations,
expressed their concerns regarding the chapter text stating “the proposed
provisions will severely restrict access to affordable medicines, access to
knowledge, and access to responsible innovation.”

“During our medical training, we witness firsthand the crucial benefit that
access to affordable medicines gives to patients,” says Reshma
Ramachandran, AMSA PharmFree Chair. “We have repeatedly expressed our
concerns that the proposed provisions may compromise this access by
imposing unprecedented TRIPS-plus IP provisions. The release of the secret
text confirms that the U.S. government and other TPP countries have failed
to back down from these dangerous proposals.”

AMSA, Australian Medical Student Association, IFMSA, IFMSA-Quebec, SGAC,
and UAEM, believe these negotiating positions will jeopardize millions of
lives in TPP participating countries by granting monopoly protections to
pharmaceutical companies, driving up the costs of medicines significantly.

“It is unacceptable that cost as a result of this agreement will become a
barrier to access and ultimately, healthy lives,” says Dr. Nida Degesys,
AMSA National President. “In making medical decisions, we as health
professionals are accountable first and foremost to our patients. As our
government officials, we ask that when negotiating this agreement, you
think of who you are also accountable to – citizens including these same
patients and consumers worldwide.”

This week, TPP negotiators are meeting in Salt Lake City to further
negotiate the Intellectual Property Chapter provisions. The organizational
letter calls for the following:

   - Removal of dispute resolution provisions that will compromise any of
   the safeguards found in the WTO TRIPS Agreement that allow governments to
   use its flexibilities to protect public health within their borders
   - Removal of any provisions that would lower the global standards for
   earning patents including “evergreening” or use of minor modifications of
   existing drugs to extend market exclusivity
   - Removal of any provision to provide data exclusivity for biologics
   - Exemption from patent infringement of diagnostic, therapeutic, and
   surgical procedures similar to 35 USC 287(c) allowing for medical
   practitioners to be immunized from a suit particularly when the machine,
   manufacture or composition of matter itself is not patented
   - Removal of any provision such as patent term adjustments for patent
   prosecution or regulatory periods that would delay entry of generic drugs
   into the market, thereby restricting access to affordable medicines.
   - Removal of patent linkage provisions that would cause drug regulatory
   authorities to take on the additional task of early patent enforcement,
   allowing for bogus patents to be a barrier to generic drug registration.

*About the American Medical Student Association*

AMSA is the oldest and largest independent association of
physicians-in-training in the United States. Founded in 1950, AMSA is a
student-governed, non-profit organization committed to representing the
concerns of physicians-in-training. To learn more about AMSA, our strategic
priorities, or joining the organization, please visit us online at

Reshma Ramachandran
Harvard Kennedy School of Government '15
Warren Alpert School of Medicine at Brown University '15
PharmFree Chair, American Medical Student Association
m: 786-271-1531

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