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Latest leak of TPPA intellectual property text confirms risk

17 October 2014

Latest leak of TPPA intellectual property text confirms risks for NZ, need to pull back

On the eve of the latest (non)round of negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) yet another version of the intellectual property has found its way to Wikileaks.

‘Several issues stand out for New Zealand’, said University of Auckland law professor Jane Kelsey.

The US is continuing its assault on generic medicines through numerous proposed changes to patent laws. ‘These are bound to impact on Pharmac if they are accepted’, according to Professor Kelsey.

‘The most dangerous future impact on affordable medicines is the extension of data exclusivity rules on biologics – the new generation medicines for treatment of cancer or diabetes that have fewer side effects and will be in huge demand. If the proposal for 8 or 12 years monopoly on the data is accepted, the added costs will bound bust the Pharmac budget.’

‘The leaked intellectual property text needs to be read along the (still-secret) Annex on Transparency in Healthcare Technologies that aims to give Big Pharma and its little brother Medicines New Zealand more influence over Pharmac’s processes and decisions.’

‘The US Congress has made far more extensive protections for Big Pharma top on their hit list.’

‘Copyright is another area of ongoing sensitivity. It is widely expected to go from life and 50 years to life plus 70 years. That will lock up published materials for longer, with corresponding costs to libraries, universities, researchers, media and many others who rely on access’.

There is also an ongoing conflict over enforcement of alleged breaches that involve file sharing and Internet Service Providers.

Professor Kelsey notes that ‘the US demands for ISP liability are a hangover from the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) that provoked protests from New Zealand’s Internet community in 2010 over its secrecy and the attack on the global commons’.

‘The good news is that the text shows these key issues have not yet been resolved’, Professor Kelsey said.

The stalemate on agricultural negotiations between the US and Japan has ensured that political trade-offs on these other issues have not advanced significantly.

‘What remains to be seen is whether there is any breakthrough on agriculture and automobiles between the US and Japan before the TPPA ministers meet from 25 to 27 October in Sydney. If not, these intellectual property issues will remain unresolved. It gives time for Kiwis to make it clear to the National government that the election gave them no mandate to make concessions on these crucial questions.’


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