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Crunch decisions on medicines in TPPA today or tomorrow

Crunch decisions on medicines in TPPA today or tomorrow, Australia already sold others down the river

‘Enormous pressure on the non-US ministers in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations is likely to see some governments cave in this afternoon or tomorrow morning on medicines and copyright’, according to Professor Jane Kelsey in Singapore.

The first phase of the ministerial process on intellectual property is over. Ministers from four countries – Mexico, Canada, the US and Vietnam - have crunched the issues on the table, and are now seeking responses in plenary from the rest.

Significantly, the strongest defenders of affordable medicines – New Zealand and Chile – were shut out of the small group on intellectual property.

‘Singapore is nominally hosting the meeting. But we believe the US designed this process, decided who will be in what groups, and is driving the ministers to make rash decisions. Some countries are saying they will have to choose their top few red lines, and be prepared to give away the rest’, Kelsey said.

In addition, documents leaked by Huffington post and Wikileaks today show Australia has already compromised on the so-called Transparency Annex on Healthcare Technologies. That Annex aims to increase drug companies’ leverage over the decision making processes of medicine purchasing agencies like Pharma.

‘Australia has agreed to a position similar to what it accepted in its free trade deal with the US in 2005. That may be fine for Australia. But it has sold down the river all those other countries for whom the Annex process would have a serious impact, including New Zealand’, Professor Kelsey said.

Last week over 60 medical professionals called on the government to hold the line on a whole range of health issues, including generics and the Pharmac process.

‘Clearly the government is not listening to its domestic experts who have committed their lives to a quality and sustainable public health system’.

‘New Zealand needs to hold firm and not throw others under the bus, as Australia appears to have done’, said Kelsey. Their previous positions are now public, so everyone will know if they sell out New Zealand’s public health system’.

ends

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