[Ip-health] Statement of KEI on announcement that there is a consensus on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement

Zack Struver zack.struver at keionline.org
Mon Oct 5 07:33:53 PDT 2015


Submitted by James Love <http://keionline.org/user/4> on 5. October 2015 -

Statement of KEI on announcement that there is a consensus on the Trans
Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement
October 5, 2015, 10am, EST

These comments by James Love, KEI Director

"The announcement that there is a consensus on the Trans Pacific
Partnership (TPP) trade agreement comes before the negotiating partners
have published the text of a single chapter. What we know about the
intellectual property, drug reimbursement and investment texts comes from
previous leaked versions of the text, and suggests that the agreement will
be an unprecedented assault on national sovereignty, consumer rights, and
access to medicines. The Obama Administration's most important objective in
this negotiation was to raise the prices for drugs, vaccines and medical
devices, worldwide, and they have no doubt achieved that objective, albeit
not to the degree that meets every single one of the pharmaceuticals and
medical device company asks.

"The agreement was reached under rules set by the Obama Administration that
allowed hundreds of corporate representatives to have access to the
negotiating text, while freezing out the public. The asymmetry of access
was enabled by the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, NPR,
specialized trade press and the vast majority of the working news media
outlets who have spent years not questioning or even reporting on this
highly controversial and obviously harmful policy of undermining
participation of consumer interests.

"We are at a disadvantage to comment on the agreement, precisely because of
that security. We don’t know if the TPP will mandate a copyright term of
life plus 70 years, change the global rules on copyright exceptions, block
legislation to limit remedies for the infringement of orphan copyrighted
works, require lower standards for granting patents, mandate patents on new
uses of old drugs, require patent term extensions, block current U.S.
incentives to induce greater transparency of the patent landscape for
biologic drugs, mandate remedies for the infringement of patents on
surgical methods, block the adoption of useful exceptions to test data,
allow drug companies and publishers to challenge exceptions to rights under
the investor state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions in the agreement,
or a hundred other issues of consequence.

"Ambassador Froman has yet to give a date for when the general public can
see the text, despite the fact that he and his staff have been giving real
time updates to drug companies, publishers, and other politically active
industries. The anti-democratic nature of this deal, and the unequal
ability to influence the outcome of the agreement between corporate and
public interests will be a significant element of President Obama’s legacy,
as will the new norms to increase drug prices worldwide, and the many other
harmful provisions that we expect to see, once the text is finally shared
with the public.

"The process for and the substance of this agreement illustrate the massive
power and influence of large corporations, and the corporate influence on
the news organizations that have largely failed to report critically on
either, for more than five years.

"Once the text is released, the profound influence of the agreement on a
wide range of non-tariff issues will become more clear, including issues
relating to regulation, intellectual property rights and pricing and
reimbursement for goods and services.

"It is our understanding that the text of the TPP is, in fact, not
completely finished. Many of the loose ends are important. We call upon
USTR to publish the current version of the negotiating text, right now, so
that the general public can provide feedback and address some of the
outstanding issues, many of which are technical and benefit from more
transparency. But above all, why give PhRMA, BIO and the MPAA members
special access to this process, when the people who elected the Obama
Administration, twice, are left out.

Zack Struver, Communications and Research Associate
Knowledge Ecology International
zack.struver at keionline.org
Twitter: @zstruver <https://twitter.com/zstruver>
Office: +1 (202) 332-2670 Cell: +1 (914) 582-1428

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