[Ip-health] 100+ Vietnamese Health Groups Oppose Trans-Pacific FTA; Cite Secrecy and Access to Medicines

Peter Maybarduk pmaybarduk at citizen.org
Wed Feb 29 17:01:26 PST 2012


Today, as the 11th round of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations kicked off in Melbourne, Australia, the Vietnam Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (VNP+) released the "VNP+ Declaration on the Trans-Pacific Free Trade Agreement and Access to Medicines in Vietnam." 

The declaration, signed by more than 100 Vietnamese PLHIV and health advocacy groups criticizes specific leaked U.S. proposals including: 
* EXPANSIVE PATENT PROTECTION for new forms, uses and methods of using known substances. These aggressive low patenting standards can extend pharmaceutical monopolies for minor variations on old products, including those that contribute nothing to efficacy.  
* PATENT TERM EXTENSIONS that stretch the duration of a patent beyond 20 years. 
* PATENT LINKAGE that prevents registration of generic medicines and facilitates abuse. 
* ELIMINATING SAFEGUARDS against patent abuse, such as pre-grant opposition.  
* BIASED PROCEDURAL REQUIREMENTS that presume challenged patents valid and measure damages by the patent holder’s assessment of value.  
* DATA EXCLUSIVITY that prevents health authorities from relying on clinical trial data to register generic versions of medicines.  
* BORDER MEASURES that could lead to unjustified seizures of generic medicines.  
* INVESTMENT RULES that could allow multinational companies to sue governments over application of domestic health regulations in private international arbitration and that may prevent governments from promoting local manufacturing. 

The letter calls for: 

• The GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES to immediately withdraw any and all TRIPS-plus provisions in the intellectual property chapter of the TPFTA, and to immediately cease all other forms of pressure and lobbying against Vietnam and Vietnamese officials.  
• GOVERNMENTS OF OTHER TRANS-PACIFIC FTA NEGOTIATING COUNTRIES to come together and refuse to accept any further restrictions on production, registration, supply, import or export of generic medicines; to launch Asian-Pacific collaboration on an urgent basis to put in place a sustainable, affordable pipeline of generic medicines for future generations; and to call for an immediate review of TRIPS and its impact on access to medicines in developing and least-developed countries. 
• The VIETNAMESE GOVERNMENT to immediately end secrecy around the TPFTA negotiations, make negotiation texts available for public scrutiny and to support through open, transparent and public consultations, assessments of the impact of such negotiations on the right to health and other rights. 

• CIVIL SOCIETY GROUPS, PEOPLE LIVING WITH HIV, ALL COMMUNITIES FACING COMMUNICABLE, CHRONIC AND/OR NON-COMMUNICABLE DISEASES in the TPFTA negotiating countries to join forces to halt any and all trade agreements that restrict access to generic medicines. 

The full text of the letter is available at: http://www.citizen.org/trans-pacific-FTA#!prettyPhoto[iframe]/0/

Thanks and congratulations to Do Dang Dong of VNP+.  

Health groups from every TPP country have written their governments and the United States to declare their opposition to leaked US proposals that would jeopardize access to medicines in the Asia-Pacific region. Some of these letters are available here: http://www.citizen.org/statements-of-support, another recent letter from PROSA in Peru is available here: http://www.citizen.org/Peru-Trans-Pacific-FTA. 

The US is expected to intensify pressure on TPP countries here in Melbourne.  But civil society (special thanks to AFTINET) is organized and pushing back: http://www.citizen.org/TPFTA-melbourne. 

Thanks friends. 
Public Citizen
Twitter @PCMedsAccess

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