Advocacy Groups Warn Trans-Pacific Partnership Could Affect Access To Low-Cost Medications, Bloomberg Reports

Bloomberg Businessweek examines how ongoing trade negotiations related to the Trans-Pacific Partnership could affect access to quality low-cost medications, including antiretrovirals, in low- and middle-income countries. “Protecting the patents of drug makers … as part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership has drawn criticism from groups such as Doctors Without Borders and Public Citizen,” and “[t]he proposed accord has also spurred calls from U.S. lawmakers for greater transparency about the negotiations,” the news service writes. “The multilateral talks, the main accord being pursued by President Barack Obama’s administration, … began with Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the U.S. and Vietnam [and] may expand after the parties invited Canada and Mexico,” the news service notes.

“Advocacy and development groups that have seen documents in the negotiations said the U.S. position offers too many protections to existing [drug] patent holders, such as letting manufacturers extend their patents by modifying existing brand-name products,” Bloomberg writes. “The U.S. Trade Representative’s office hasn’t confirmed the authenticity of those documents,” and “U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk has said the U.S. and the partner nations will implement the agreement in a way that supports public health,” according to the news service. Bloomberg includes quotes from drug access advocates, pharmaceutical industry representatives, members of Congress, and administration officials (Wingfield, 8/8).