[Ip-health] Coalition in United States and Korea call on US Trade Representative to prioritize public health over pharma corporations in trade negotiations

Kim Treanor kim.treanor at keionline.org
Mon Mar 12 06:28:39 PDT 2018

Coalition in United States and Korea call on US Trade Representative to
prioritize public health over pharma corporations in trade negotiations

kim.treanor at keionline.org

A coalition of 16 advocacy organizations in the United States and Korea
asked the Trump Administration to reject the demands of the pharmaceutical
industry, protect human rights, and prioritize patient access to medicines
in its trade negotiations with Korea.

In a submission to the U.S. Trade Representative in advance of the
administration’s “Special 301” review of the intellectual property
enforcement of other countries, PhRMA, a lobbyist group representing
pharmaceutical corporations, asked the Trump administration to declare
Korea a “Priority Foreign Country.” This designation is the most serious
possible result of the review process, and countries who have been placed
on this list in the past have faced consequences including a loss of
diplomatic support and threats to trade agreements.

The reason Korea has drawn the ire of the pharmaceutical industry is
because it does what many in the United States wish the U.S. government
would do – adopt policies to expand access to affordable medicines.
Specifically, PhRMA objects to Korea’s recent drug pricing reforms, which
include pricing and formularies based on a pharmacoeconomic analysis and
single-payer negotiations.

A March 12 letter signed by 16 organizations in the United States and Korea
representing patients, physicians, consumer, religion and human rights
interests urged trade officials in the United States and Korea to respect
the plain meaning of the WTO Doha Declaration on TRIPS and public health,
and be supportive of country’s “right to protect public health and, in
particular, to promote access to medicines for all.” In particular, the
letter opposes the demands by PhRMA to cite Korea for and modify its recent
pricing reforms under the Korea Drug Expenditure Rationalization Plan
(DERP). The letter also opposed various TRIPS plus measures in the ongoing
renegotiation of the U.S.-Korea free trade agreement, KORUS.

The organizations point out that PhRMA is lobbying to keep and even
provisions in KORUS that harm the public’s access to health care, in both
Korea and in the U.S.

Andrew Goldman, counsel for Knowledge Ecology International, a human rights
group, offered the following comment:

“In their submission to USTR, PhRMA wants both Korea and the United States
to agree on measures that will, going forward, hamstring both governments
in their efforts to negotiate prices on new drugs. What PhRMA wants is best
for their own shareholders, but will predictably lead to barriers and
financial hardships for patients, and drain scarce resources from health
care budgets. Trump was elected on promises to cut the costs of new drugs,
not to make things worse.”

A list of the organizations signing the letter is as follows.

United States (6)
Franciscan Action Network
Health GAP
Knowledge Ecology International (KEI)_
NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice
People of Faith for Access to Medicines (PFAM)
Union for Affordable Cancer Treatment (UACT)

Korea (10)
Association of Korea Doctors for Health Rights
Association of Physicians for Humanism
Center for Health and Social Change (CHSC)
Knowledge Commune
Korea Dentists Association for Health Society
Korean Federation of Medical Groups for Health Rights (KFHR)
Korean Pharmacists for Democratic Society
Korean Progressive Network/Jinbonet
Solidarity for Worker’s Health

Kim Treanor
Knowledge Ecology International
kim.treanor at keionline.org
tel.: +1.202.332.2670 <(202)%20332-2670>

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