Info Service on Health Issues (Oct15/04)
20 YEARS AFTER THE TRIPS AGREEMENT, U.S. GOVERNMENT SCORES MASSIVE VICTORY FOR BIG PHARMA IN TPP DEAL
AIDS GROUPS EXPRESS DEEP DISMAY AT CONCLUSION OF SECRETLY NEGOTIATED
TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT THAT THREATENS FUTURE ACCESS TO
AFFORDABLE GENERIC MEDICINES AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS
Call on Countries and Parliaments to reject ratification of TPP
6 October 2015, Bangkok, Hanoi and Kuala Lumpur – The Asia Pacific Network of People living with HIV/AIDS (APN+), Positive Malaysian Treatment Access & Advocacy Group (MTAAG+) and the Vietnam Network of People living with HIV (VNP+) are expressing deep dismay at news of the conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) led by the United States with 11 countries including seven in the Asia-Pacific region i.e. Vietnam, Malaysia, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Brunei. The TPPA text that was hurriedly wrapped up over the weekend in Atlanta still remains secret as details trickle out through the media of vastly expanded monopolies on medicines through extended patent and exclusivity provisions that will endanger the lives and health of hundreds of thousands of patients in these countries.
"Today, in the Asia-Pacific region, 2nd and 3rd line AIDS medicines are exorbitantly priced. US multinational pharmaceutical company Gilead is playing games with the lives of people living with Hepatitis C by creating a complex pathway of licenses, price negotiations and collection of personal data before patients can access sofosbuvir. Cancer treatment prices have skyrocketed. We are directly seeing these impacts of the US-promoted patent rules in the WTO’s TRIPS Agreement that require 20 year monopolies on medicines in Malaysia. Now, 20 years after TRIPS, the next generation of international intellectual property obligations pushed by the US through the TPP would keep even more medicines unaffordable for longer periods of time,” said Edward Low of MTAAG+.
The final TPP text is likely to contain intellectual property provisions pushed by the US on behalf of the multinational pharmaceutical industry that are far in excess of what developing countries like Vietnam and Malaysia have agreed to in the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). Known as ‘TRIPS-plus,’ these measures are contrary to the WTO’s Doha Declaration which re-affirmed the right of countries to use TRIPS flexibilities stating that TRIPS “can and should be interpreted and implemented in a manner supportive of WTO member’s right to protect public health and, in particular, to promote access to medicines for all.” But the TPP likely does away with many of these TRIPS flexibilities by requiring longer patent terms, data and marketing exclusivity, patents on new forms and new uses of known medicines, harsh patent enforcement provisions and investment provisions that will allow MNCs to sue governments for pro -health policies.
"In recent days the reporting around the TPP has focussed only on an exclusivity period for biological medicines with a reported push back on the 12 year period proposed by the US being presented as a victory for developed countries in the TPP like Australia," noted Shiba Phurailatpam of APN+. "But even a mandatory 5-year period of exclusivity along with the several other restrictive conditions imposed by the US, will have a massive adverse impact in countries like Malaysia and Vietnam as will the other damaging provisions in the intellectual property chapter. The conclusion of this trade deal makes a mockery of the Sustainable Development Goals and the new WHO HIV treatment guidelines that call for immediate initiation of treatment." he added.
Sustainable Development Goals that all UN members including TPPA countries
signed in September include ambitious health goals and call on countries
to make use of the Doha Declaration to ensure access to treatment
for communicable and non-communicable diseases. More recently the
WHO released new HIV treatment guidelines recommending that everyone
who tests positive for HIV should be put on treatment immediately
instead of waiting for a lowered CD4 count. Under the latest guidelines
millions more need HIV treatment including people living with HIV
in TPP countries.
"We are shocked that the secret deal has been concluded without public consultation or a proper health and human rights review. Even now the text is being kept secret. APN+ members are in 6 of the TPPA countries - Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and Japan - and will be among the first to face the consequences of the TPP on their health and lives. We are therefore calling on all TPP countries and their Parliaments to reject the secretly negotiated TPP text,” said Shiba Phurailatpam of APN+. “Any trade agreement that further strengthens the hands of the multinational pharmaceutical industry to play games with the lives and health of millions of patients in the Asia-Pacific region is immoral and unacceptable,” he added.
For more information contact:
Mr. Do Dang Dong, Vietnam Network of People Living with HIV (VNP+), +84974243366, email@example.com;
Mr. Shiba Phurailatpam, Asia-Pacific Network of People living with HIV/AIDS (APN+), +66 8660 00738, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Mr. Edward Low, Positive Malaysian Treatment Access & Advocacy Group (MTAAG+), +6012-3278812, email@example.com
Notes for Editors:
1. Sustainable Development Goals, September 2015: Goal 3.b: “Support the research and development of vaccines and medicines for the communicable and noncommunicable diseases that primarily affect developing countries, provide access to affordable essential medicines and vaccines, in accordance with the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health, which affirms the right of developing countries to use to the full the provisions in the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights [TRIPS] regarding flexibilities to protect public health, and, in particular, provide access to medicines for all.” https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/?menu=1300
2. WHO Guidelines on when to start antiretroviral therapy 2015: “…antiretroviral therapy (ART) should be initiated in everyone living with HIV at any CD4 cell count…recommendations is based on evidence from clinical trials and observational studies released since 2013 showing that earlier use of ART results in better clinical outcomes for people living with HIV compared with delayed treatment.” http://www.who.int/hiv/pub/guidelines/earlyrelease-arv/en/
3. TRIPS-plus provisions likely to feature in the TPP :
For an in-depth analysis of the leaked TPP proposals that may adversely impact access to medicines and public health see UNITAID’s report on the TPP:http://www.unitaid.eu/en/rss-unitaid/1339-the-trans-pacific-partnership-agreement-implications-for-access-to-medicines-and-public-health
4. Study on the Impact of the TPP on access to HIV treatment in Vietnam: In 2014, an impact assessment of the provisions being negotiated in the TPP on intellectual property on access to HIV treatment in Vietnam was published. Highlights from the study titled, “Assessing the impact of alternative patent systems on the cost of health care: Vietnam, the TPP and HIV treatment in Vietnam”, include:
complete study is available here:
The Bangkok Declaration on Free Trade Agreements and Access to Medicines: