[Ip-health] MSF press release: TPP Negotiators Must Fix the Most Damaging Trade Agreement Ever for Global Health

Michelle French Michelle.French at newyork.msf.org
Fri Jul 24 11:00:13 PDT 2015

MSF PR issued today, as negotiations get underway in Hawaii:

TPP Negotiators Must Fix the Most Damaging Trade Agreement Ever for Global 
As U.S. aims to close deal, countries should reject damaging provisions 
that will block access to affordable medicines
Maui/New York, July 24, 2015—Trade negotiators must remove damaging access 
to medicines provisions in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal 
or risk locking in high drug prices and endangering the health of millions 
of people for decades to come, said the medical humanitarian organization 
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) as negotiations 
resumed in Maui, Hawaii, today.  MSF’s call comes as reports indicate that 
this could be the last negotiation before the agreement is concluded. 
If approved in its current form, the TPP, which is being negotiated 
between the U.S. and 11 other Pacific Rim countries, will have a 
devastating impact on global health. It would strengthen, lengthen and 
create new patent and regulatory monopolies for pharmaceutical products 
that will raise the price of medicines and reduce the availability of 
price-lowering generic competition. 
“We have raised our voice as loudly as we can, repeatedly warning that 
this is a terrible deal for access to affordable medicines,” said Manica 
Balasegaram, Executive Director of MSF’s Access Campaign, “Ministries of 
Health, humanitarian groups such as MSF and global health programs funded 
by the U.S. government all rely on affordable medicines to provide medical 
care. Despite repeated warnings from MSF, other concerned experts and 
groups, and even other negotiating countries, U.S. negotiators have pushed 
for provisions that benefit pharmaceutical companies at the expense of 
more than 800 million people who need access to affordable generic 
medicines in current TPP countries.”
Some of the most concerning provisions in the TPP center on so-called 
‘patent evergreening,’ which would force TPP governments to grant 
pharmaceutical companies additional patents for changes to existing 
medicines, even when those changes provide no therapeutic benefit to 
U.S. negotiators have also aggressively pushed for 12 years of ‘data 
exclusivity’ for biologic medicines, which include vaccines and drugs to 
treat conditions such as cancer and multiple sclerosis. Data exclusivity 
blocks government regulatory authorities from allowing price-lowering 
generic competitors to enter the market with previously generated clinical 
If pharmaceutical companies get their way, brand-name drugs and vaccines 
would not face direct competition for excessively long periods of time 
while patients, medical providers like MSF, and people in TPP countries 
endure unnecessarily high prices. 
“The U.S. is demanding that countries implement a devastating set of new 
trade rules that will essentially block people from benefitting from the 
latest advances in medicines for years simply because this is in the 
interest of multinational pharmaceutical companies,” said Judit Rius 
Sanjuan, U.S. Manager and Policy Advisor for MSF’s Access Campaign. 
“Extended monopolies, such as those being pushed by the U.S. in the TPP, 
are irresponsible and harmful to public health.” 
The provisions demanded by U.S. negotiators break past U.S. government 
commitments to global health, including a 2007 agreement in which the U.S 
agreed to include key public health safeguards in future free trade deals 
with developing countries. 
“The U.S. has abandoned its previous commitments to protect health in its 
trade policy,” said Rius. “The TPP is a precedent-setting blueprint for 
future trade deals that will deny countries their right to balance 
business interests with the public health needs of people – a right that 
is ingrained in international trade rules. This week might be the last 
chance negotiators have to mitigate some of the potential devastation of 
the TPP. We ask government negotiators to protect access to medicines and 
fix the most damaging provisions in the TPP.” 
Michelle French
Sr. Communications Manager, MSF Access Campaign
Doctors Without Borders\Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)
Office: +1.212.763.5735 | Mobile: +1.646.552.4600
michelle.french at newyork.msf.org | Skype: michellejfrench
www.msfaccess.org | twitter.com/MSF_access | www.facebook.com/MSFaccess

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