CHICAGO –(ENEWSPF)—October 2, 2015.
Trade representatives from twelve nations are meeting in Atlanta this week in an attempt to finalize the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, a trade agreement that would have profound consequences for workers, consumers, the environment and health care.
Consumers, businesses and governments around the world are struggling to afford life-sustaining prescription drugs. We should be doing everything that we can to make essential medicines more affordable, not act to make them even more expensive. That is why I once again urge U.S. negotiators to stop pushing for provisions that would reduce competition from generics, increase profits for brand-name pharmaceutical companies and threaten public health.
I am deeply distressed by reports that U.S. negotiators continue to press other governments to accept new trade provisions that could significantly increase drug prices. Those provisions would allow pharmaceutical companies to extend patent protections on new versions of their old drugs – even they provide no or little additional value to consumers. They would require an increase in data exclusivity periods for biologics, delaying competition from lower-cost generic versions. No other country is arguing for those changes – no other country is fighting to increase the price of essential medicines.
Many of us argue that existing trade policies already tip the balance in favor of brand-name pharmaceutical companies and away from health care consumers. There is certainly no need to provide even more monopoly protections for those companies and to require other countries to do the same. There is still time for our negotiators to put the needs of health care consumers first and reverse course, and I call on them to do so.