[Ip-health] Sign-on Letter to USTR

Claire Cassedy claire.cassedy at keionline.org
Tue Jun 9 13:11:41 PDT 2015

Dear All,

We are circulating a sign on letter to be sent to Ambassador Michael Froman
of USTR. We learned that in a USTR briefing of Congress, USTR stated that
there was no evidence that stronger intellectual property rules created
barriers for access to medicine.

This is a shocking statement for USTR to make, and we are seeking
confirmation and clarification of USTR's assertion.  The text of our letter
follows below the body of this email.

If you would like to sign on to this letter, please send your name, city
and state of residence, and affiliation if any, along with contact details
(only for confirmation if necessary), to:

froman-tpp at keionline.org

Please feel free to circulate this widely to interested colleagues or
lists. The deadline for signatures is at the end of the day on Wednesday,
June 10. Thank you for your consideration.

Claire Cassedy

Knowledge Ecology International (KEI)
1621 Connecticut Avenue NW
Suite 500
Washington, DC 20009
Tel.: (202)332-2670 ext. 16
Fax.: (202)332-2673

Dear Ambassador Froman,

There are reports that during one of your briefings to Congress about the
TPP, your expert on the pharmaceutical issues said that there was no
evidence that stronger intellectual property rules created barriers for
access to medicine.

If this report is true, it is a shocking statement to make at a briefing
where the issues relating to pharmaceutical drugs in the TPP were
discussed.  The vastly unequal access to new medicines is so clearly
evident from every conceivable source of data, one has to wonder what type
of life the USTR trade officials live, to have never stumbled across such
evidence, or reflected for a moment on the consequences of the USTR
bilateral pressures against the uses of compulsory licenses on drugs for
HIV or cancer.  Unless the USTR believes stronger IP does not lead to
higher prices, and higher prices do not create access barriers, the
briefing was dishonest.

It is one thing for the USTR to advocate for a multitude of measures in the
TPP that would expand the number of patents granted, extend the term of
patent protection, and create mandates for monopoly on test data for drug
registration (among many other measures impacting drug prices), and quite
another to deny the obvious, and off-putting fact that these measures will
make the unequal access to new drugs worse and not better.  An honest man
will acknowledge the consequences of his actions.



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