[Ip-health] IUT: U.S. TPP IPR Proposal Accused Of Violating Human Rights For Health

Peter Maybarduk pmaybarduk at citizen.org
Fri Mar 25 09:00:12 PDT 2011

Inside U.S. Trade - 03/25/2011 
U.S. TPP IPR Proposal Accused Of Violating Human Rights For Health 
Posted: March 24, 2011 

A group of public health advocacy organizations and academics this week filed an "urgent appeal" to the United Nations alleging that the U.S. proposal for intellectual property rights (IPR) in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations violates human rights by restricting access to affordable medicines and harming public health.
The March 22 appeal was sent to Anand Grover, the U.N. special rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health. Grover has accepted the appeal, according to an informed source.
Through the appeal process, the rapporteur will pose questions to the relevant government. The responses will be submitted in an annual report to the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, the source said.
The appeal was signed by Knowledge Ecology International (KEI), which initially leaked the U.S. draft IPR chapter, and a number of other international health organizations and legal academics.
The director of KEI, James Love, said he hoped that the contents of the appeal will get circulated to other TPP countries, and that the issue could get increased attention at the next round of negotiations in Singapore.
Although the rapporteur's findings are confidential until they are documented in an annual report to the high commissioner, one source said the fact that a rapporteur is considering an appeal often gives a specific issue better visibility because the initial complaint is often widely publicized.
The complaint is based on six elements. First, it charges that the secrecy of the negotiations violates human rights because people affected by the agreement are unable to influence the outcome of the negotiations.
Second, it charges that the United States is unfairly advantaged in the negotiations because of its economic muscle. Of the combined gross domestic product (GDP) of the nine TPP partners, the United States economy makes up 88.6 percent of that whole, the complaint points out.
Third, the United States has made proposals in the TPP talks that exceed what is required by the World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).
Fourth, the groups allege that the United States is expected to propose tough measures on patent protections that will make it more difficult to produce inexpensive medications by exceeding WTO obligations. Fifth, the appeal argues that obligations in the U.S. proposal for protecting medical technologies will undermine efforts to create, sustain or develop legal guarantees of universal access to medical care.
Finally, the appeal argues that the U.S. proposal omits obligations for trading partners to act together to address development concerns, such as supporting funding for global AIDS programs, making investments in priority medical research and development or sharing access to government-funded research.

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