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Trade deal will increase health inequities

STATEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE,
TUESDAY 28 JUNE 2016

Trade deal will increase health inequities

“The TPPA is riddled with provisions that will widen already unacceptable health disparities” says Dr Erik Monasterio, a spokesperson for Doctors for Healthy Trade. An analysis of the impact of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement on health equity co-authored by Dr Monasterio has been published today in the journal Applied Health Economics and Health Policy. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40258-016-0252-3

The Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPPA) is a multi-lateral trade and investment agreement proposed between New Zealand and 11 other Pacific rim countries.


“Pushing up the costs of housing is bad for health, and will increase inequity; but housing costs are likely to rise under the TPPA. Climate change is bad for health, and will increase inequity; but the TPPA will make it harder and more expensive for governments to take action to reduce climate emissions. Junk food and its advertising is bad for health, and increases inequity; but the TPPA will make it harder and more expensive for governments to control advertising,” said Dr Monasterio

“The TPPA forces changes to the way that medicine costs are managed in New Zealand that will push up the costs to the tax-payer. Anything that pushes up the drug bill makes it harder for governments to make medicines affordable for everyone. This is extremely concerning when we know that many New Zealanders already can’t afford to pick up prescriptions of important medicines.”


“The TPPA will have serious, wide-ranging implications for Māori, Pacific peoples and other marginalised groups in New Zealand, exacerbating existing health and social disadvantage. When we look internationally, the impact of the TPPA on lower-income countries will be even more dramatic. The TPPA will make it easier, quicker and cheaper for foreign junk food, alcohol and fossil fuel industries to operate aggressively. At the same time the TPPA makes medicines there more expensive, making it harder, slower and more expensive for their governments to control health hazards. Only countries that are rich enough to withstand long, expensive, international legal battles will be in a position to protect health and reduce the ever-widening health inequities.”

“We need full public discussion of the health impacts of the TPPA, including the effects on health equity, before the government decides whether or not to bring the TPPA into force.” said Dr Monasterio

ENDS


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