AFTINET warns that claims in EU trade deal could reduce access to cheap medicines
30 June, 2022: Speaking to RN Drive on ABC Radio National, Dr Patricia Ranald, AFTINET Convenor, has warned that a potential trade deal containing EU standards in past trade deals, though welcome, may fall short of community expectations for high environmental and labour standards without strong enforcement mechanisms:
“The standards tend to be aspirational rather than legally enforceable in the same way as the rest of the agreement. We would argue that such standards should be legally enforceable.”
Dr Ranald also said that EU negotiators have flagged an extra 3-5 years of ‘data protection’ monopolies for medicines, in addition to the existing 20-year patent monopolies. Should Australia agree to the EU’s demands, Australian health consumers will have to wait longer to be able to access cheaper generic medicines. She pointed out that this is contrary to Labor policy and a Labor government would be expected to resist such claims.