Public health groups urge NZ Government to resist TPP medicine monopolies

October 31, 2017: Yesterday the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS) in New Zealand urged the newly elected NZ Labour Coalition Government not to support extending medicine monopolies under the TPP Agreement.

Pharmaceutical companies already have 20 years of patents for monopoly higher prices on new medicines. The TPP would extend those monopoly rights for costly biologic medicines used to treat cancer and other serious illnesses. Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has warned that the TPP will prevent millions of people from accessing cheaper medicines sooner.

ASMS are calling for an independent clinical assessment of the impact that the TPP Agreement would have on the New Zealand health system. Executive Director Ian Powell said, “No one wants health care in this country to be influenced by the vested interests of big international corporates, who will have no scruples about undermining New Zealand’s health system if it gets in the way of their profits.”

Chief TPP-11 negotiators are meeting again this week in Tokyo. A Japanese trade ministry official reportedly said, “if exceptions are made for New Zealand alone, the whole thing will fall apart.”