[Ip-health] terrible WP editorial on TPP and medicines
james.love at keionline.org
Fri Feb 6 08:04:39 PST 2015
On Fri, Feb 6, 2015 at 10:36 AM, Mohga Kamal-Yanni <mkamalyanni at oxfam.org.uk
> Terrible Washington Post editorial today ? evidence that the White House
> is being very aggressive about pushing to get TPP done and passed! It
> seems that CSOs in the TPP affected countries and globally need to act now
> Critics? concerns about the Trans-Pacific Partnership are overblown
> By Editorial Board February 4 at 8:55 PM
> AS THE Obama administration and a Republican-majority Congress work
> toward eventual approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement
> between the United States and 11 Pacific Rim nations, opponents of the
> proposed pact are issuing increasingly shrill warnings. The latest is that
> the deal will endanger not only U.S. jobs but also U.S. health care ? and
> health care around the world. According to the critics, U.S. efforts to
> protect the pharmaceutical industry?s intellectual-property rights and
> commercial interests could result in higher drug prices and lower access ?
> not only along the Pacific Rim but also in the United States. The TPP
> means ?worse health and unnecessary deaths,? Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel
> laureate in economics, warns.
> Well, don?t believe the hype. The United States already has free-trade
> agreements, including chapters on pharmaceuticals, with several of the TPP
> countries (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Peru, Chile, Mexico and
> Singapore), so the additional integration under the new deal would not
> change the status quo dramatically. It?s true that, as critics say,
> President Obama?s trade negotiators are shooting for the 12 years of data
> protection, and higher prices that come with it, that developers of
> cutting-edge biologic medicines enjoy under U.S. law. They?re unlikely to
> get it, because the maximum term in the other TPP countries is eight
> years. A compromise is already under discussion that would finesse the
> issue while allowing the only truly poor TPP country, Vietnam, quicker
> access to cheaper ?bio-similar? versions of the drugs.
> The other accusation is that the United States is trying to use TPP as a
> battering ram to bring down the prevailing drug-price controls in
> countries with national health insurance, such as Australia. It?s true
> that the United States seeks due process and transparency for U.S. drug
> makers that want inclusion in these countries? state-controlled systems,
> but this is a far cry from undermining those politically popular systems ?
> which other TPP countries would never allow anyway. Still less plausible
> is that TPP rules in this regard could set a precedent to weaken the
> United States? own bulk-pricing schemes for drugs in Medicaid or the VA
> health-care system, as the opponents allege.
> The United States, and the world, desperately needs medical innovation,
> but the difficult fact is that it costs money ? billions of dollars
> sometimes ? to develop effective new drugs. One way to incentivize that
> investment is to offer companies a temporary government-guaranteed
> monopoly on commercial exploitation of their discoveries. Obviously,
> there?s a trade-off: Drug prices must be high enough to encourage
> risk-taking but not so high as to limit access or bankrupt insurance
> systems. The United States, which accounts for 4.5 percent of the world?s
> population but 39 percent of global spending on pharmaceuticals, probably
> subsidizes health systems in Europe and elsewhere. The robust
> intellectual-property rights and relatively higher prices U.S. drug firms
> enjoy in their domestic market enable them to sell medicine in
> price-controlled markets abroad. No doubt that system is imperfect, but
> the TPP is best understood as a realistic effort to make it work better.
> Read more about this topic:
> The Post?s View: The Trans-Pacific Partnership can help the U.S. counter
> China?s expansion
> David Ignatius: A breakthrough on trade in Asia
> The Post?s View: Momentum for the Trans-Pacific Partnership needs to be
> The Post?s View: Trans-Pacific Partnership and all free trade deals help
> the United States
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