Leaked TPP draft confirms US push on medicines: Australia should resist at August meeting

Media Release August 6, 2015

'A leaked draft TPP intellectual property chapter dated 11 May 2015, confirms that the US is still proposing extensions on medicine monopolies which would delay the availability of cheaper medicines. The draft was considered at the meeting of TPP Trade Ministers which failed to reach agreement on July 31,” Dr Patricia Ranald, Coordinator of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network said today.Dr Ranald said that another meeting is planned by the end of August. The US is continuing to press for:extension of data protection monopolies on expensive biologic drugs, which include treatments for cancer, from 5 to 8 years.

“This would cost the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme  hundreds of millions of dollars per year. Data protection is a separate form of monopoly from patents.  The leaked draft shows Australia and most other governments were resisting this proposal. There was also disagreement about the definition of biologics, with the US pushing for a broad definition but most governments wanting flexibility at the national level.”

“The leaked draft shows that the US is continuing to make outrageous demands on behalf of its pharmaceutical corporations at the expense of public health. This is not about free trade but about extension of monopolies. At the August meeting Trade Minister Robb should keep his word that he will not agree to extend monopolies on biologic drugs and should say no to any proposals which have the effect of making patents easier to obtain and expanding evergreening opportunities.

Australia’s medicines policies should be decided though open democratic parliamentary processes, not secretly traded away for token access to US sugar or other agricultural markets,” said Dr Ranald.

A detailed analysis of the medicines section of the leaked draft chapter can be found here