The Economic Populist
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a trade treaty going on in secret. Trade treaty drafts and negotiations are so secret to even comment on one of these trade deals will cost $2000. WikiLeaks recently released an excerpt of the secret deal, a feat most amazing they obtained even a portion of the terms. Thank you WikiLeaks and we hope they obtain more parts of trade treaties being crafted in secret by large multinational corporations in future. The leak is on intellectual property and it would change the Internet as we know it if enacted. The Trans-Pacific Partnership trade treaty is referred to as TPP.
Since the beginning of the TPP negotiations, the process of drafting and negotiating the treaty’s chapters has been shrouded in an unprecedented level of secrecy. Access to drafts of the TPP chapters is shielded from the general public. Members of the US Congress are only able to view selected portions of treaty-related documents in highly restrictive conditions and under strict supervision. It has been previously revealed that only three individuals in each TPP nation have access to the full text of the agreement, while 600 ’trade advisers’ – lobbyists guarding the interests of large US corporations such as Chevron, Halliburton, Monsanto and Walmart – are granted privileged access to crucial sections of the treaty text.
The pharmaceutical companies are having a field day, raising drug prices for the entire globe. They do this through patents and thus monopoly rights on manufacture of the particular drug. Normally patents expire and this expiration paves the way for generics production of the drug in question. The document released by Wikileaks shows Big Pharma would be allowed to re-issue patents on drugs where that patent is about to expire, thus extending their monopoly and control of the price of that drug. Generally speaking patents stop generics from being made and sold and allows Pharmaceutical companies to charge exorbitant prices on drugs where they control manufacture and supply. Bill Moyers gives an example of a cancer drug and how India bucked multinational pharmaceutical companies on their monopoly by denying a patent extension:
India’s Supreme Court recently upheld a decision to withhold a patent for the cancer drug Glivec. This drug, which sells for as much as $100,000 for a year’s dosage in the United States, is a combination of previously approved drugs. On this basis India refused to award a patent. As a result, Indian patients can get a generic version that costs around $2,000 a year.
The trade agreement patent terms are so outrageous even the AARP is opposing TPP and pointing out the disaster to health care costs this trade agreement would bring.
We write today to express our deep concern that provisions being advanced by the United States Trade Representative (USTR) for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement will undermine this goal by limiting the ability of states and the federal government to moderate escalating prescription drug, biologic drug and medical device costs in public programs. We are also concerned that the final trade agreement will bind the U.S. to a 12-year market exclusivity period for brand-name biologic drugs, contrary to the Administration’s proposal in its most recent and previous budgets to reduce the exclusivity period.
article h/t to: thunderbolt1959