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Groser and Key must reject ongoing US assault on Pharmac

12 September 2013

Groser and Key must reject ongoing US assault on Pharmac in the TPPA

‘There are further reports that the US informally proposed a two-tier approach to pharmaceuticals during the recent Brunei round’, said Professor Jane Kelsey, referring to an article in Inside US Trade published yesterday.

The US continues to target the availability of generic medicines on which the Pharmac system relies.

The revised US proposal would give Malaysia, Vietnam, Peru and Brunei more flexibility on the grounds they are non–OECD countries - even though Brunei’s per capita GDP is over US$50,000 and New Zealand’s is US$28,800.

Those countries would still have to accept stricter intellectual property rules than they have now and may eventually have to accept the extreme version the US wants to impose on the TPPA countries that are part of the OECD.

‘This two-tier approach does not mean they suddenly have a conscience about the impact of the TPPA on access to affordable medicines in poorer countries of the TPP’, said Professor Kelsey.

‘The US is clearly using the TPPA to establish a “gold standard” for its drug companies across the OECD’, according to Professor Kelsey. ‘They don’t give a damn about what that means for access to affordable medicines and the sustainability of our public health system or that of any other country.’

New Zealand, along with Australia, Chile, Canada, Malaysia and Singapore have reportedly made a much more conservative counter-proposal.

This counter-proposal is likely to be discussed at the forthcoming ‘intersessional’ meeting on intellectual property in Mexico from 23 September to 2 October and probably at the meeting of chief negotiators immediately before that in Washington.

‘The US may tactically hold back the discussion of its own proposal until after that meeting. They can then elevate it directly to the level of ministers and leaders when they meet in Bali during APEC in early October and in Brunei immediately after that for ASEAN’, Professor Kelsey observed. ‘Ominously, the US is expected to chair those meetings.’

‘Trade Minister Groser and Prime Minister Key must stand firm behind the New Zealand negotiators. They cannot give way to US demands and still claim to have defended Pharmac’s “fundamentals’’.’

ends

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