[Ip-health] Prof Kelsey press release: Crunch decisions on medicines in TPPA today or tomorrow, Australia already sold others down the river

Sanya Reid Smith sanya at thirdworldnetwork.net
Mon Dec 9 01:34:08 PST 2013

For immediate release by: Professor Jane Kelsey
School of Law
University of Auckland

9 December 2013
Crunch decisions on medicines in TPPA today or tomorrow, Australia already
sold others down the river
'Enormous pressure on the non-US ministers in the Trans-Pacific Partnership
Agreement negotiations is likely to see some governments cave in this
afternoon or tomorrow morning on medicines and copyright', according to
Professor Jane Kelsey in Singapore.
The first phase of the ministerial process on intellectual property is over.
Ministers from four countries - Mexico, Canada, the US and Vietnam -  have
crunched the issues on the table, and are now seeking responses in plenary
from the rest.
Significantly, the strongest defenders of affordable medicines - New Zealand
and Chile - were shut out of the small group on intellectual property. 
'Singapore is nominally hosting the meeting. But we believe the US designed
this process, decided who will be in what groups, and is driving the
ministers to make rash decisions. Some countries are saying they will have
to choose their top few red lines, and be prepared to give away the rest',
Kelsey said.  
In addition, documents leaked by Huffington post and Wikileaks today show
Australia has already compromised on the so-called Transparency Annex on
Healthcare Technologies. That Annex aims to increase drug companies'
leverage over the decision making processes of medicine purchasing agencies
like Pharmac. 
'Australia has agreed to a position similar to what it accepted in its free
trade deal with the US in 2005.  That may be fine for Australia. But it has
sold down the river all those other countries for whom the Annex process
would have a serious impact, including New Zealand', Professor Kelsey said.
Last week over 60 medical professionals called on the government to hold the
line on a whole range of health issues, including generics and the Pharmac
'Clearly the government is not listening to its domestic experts who have
committed their lives to a quality and sustainable public health system'.
'New Zealand needs to hold firm and not throw others under the bus, as
Australia appears to have done', said Kelsey. Their previous positions are
now public, so everyone will know if they sell out New Zealand's public
health system'.

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