Robb’s two different stories on medicines
26 February 2016
When then Trade Minister Andrew Robb signed off the TPP he promised the Australian people it would not result in longer monopolies or extra costs for life-saving biologic medicines.
Prime Minister Turnbull told Fairfax Media at the time: "This deal has no impact on the Pharmaceutical Benefits scheme, it's not going to make drugs more expensive in Australia whatsoever.”
But this week Mr Robb promised US pharmaceutical companies that as a result of the TPP, they would receive at least 8 years of monopoly rights for biologic medicines in Australia, and potentially as long as 12 to 17 years.
Australia’s current law only guarantees five years of monopoly data protection.
It’s true that the TPP won’t require an actual change to legislation - these extra years of protection will be provided for through “other measures.”
The outcome, however, is the same - this will mean more expensive medicines for longer, which is likely to cost the PBS hundreds of millions of dollars a year.