Public Health Threat From TPP Agreement ‘May Be Overblown’

Washington Post: A healthy agreement
Editorial Board

“…No argument against the proposed [Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)] trade agreement packs more emotional punch than the claim that the deal would be bad for people’s health — and even result in avoidable deaths — both in the United States and in the 11 other signatory nations. The argument, repeated most recently in a letter to Congress … is that the TPP would unduly extend U.S. patent and intellectual property protections for the pharmaceutical industry, thus driving up prices for lifesaving medicines. … [T]he biggest compilation of information so far suggests that trade deals do not drain national drug budgets and that the public health threat from the TPP may be overblown. … As it happens, the Obama administration struck a compromise on the issue and the results were not as protective of the U.S. drug industry as the industry would have liked. The United States and the world need medical innovation, but it costs money … to develop a drug. One way to spur investment is to offer innovators a temporary government-guaranteed monopoly on commercial exploitation. Fundamentally, critics are quarreling with that system as much as with the trade deal itself…” (4/24).

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