Five Reasons Why TTP Ought to Have You Worried…” Medicine for the Poorest Gets More Expensive”

Saturday, November 7, 2015
By Paul Martin

Several chapters of the newly-inked Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, which was published by countries party to it on November 5, have raised concerns in member countries.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement is a wide-ranging free trade agreement between 12 countries: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the US, and Vietnam.

It intends to promote economic integration across an area comprising 40 percent of the world economy, by liberalizing trade and investment rules, including the elimination of 98 percent of tariffs between the 12 members.

The complex full text of the agreement was finally released on Thursday, and so far critics have been able to highlight several areas of concern.

Medicine for the Poorest Gets More Expensive

Chapter 18 on intellectual property strengthens copyright protection, trademark and patent law. For example, the rules on ‘biologics’ state that pharmaceutical companies can seek up to eight years of market protection for medicine they make from biological sources, which are much more expensive than chemical drugs.

Some of the countries party to the agreement, such as Brunei, previously had no bar on cheaper medicines that copy such drugs, and patients there will now have to wait at least five years before they can be treated with such medicine.

Longer Copyright Protection

The agreement mandates the extension of the minimum copyright term for artistic and literary works to 70 years after the death of the author, rather than the current rule of 50 years, enshrined in the Berne convention. As a result, the public will have to wait another 20 years before works pass into the public domain.

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