US big pharma revealed as TPP puppet master

By Leith van Onselen

Zero Hedge has confirmed what many of us already knew: that US healthcare corporations (“big pharma”) are the puppet master pulling the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal’s strings:

 …thanks to more documents published by Wikileaks, and analyzed by the NYT, it appears that “big pharma” is once again pulling the strings, this time of the Trans Pacific Partnership, which if passed will “empower big pharmaceutical firms to command higher reimbursement rates in the United States and abroad, at the expense of consumers” according to “public health professionals, generic-drug makers and activists opposed to the trade deal”

Worst of all, the negotiations for the next price increase is taking place in utmost secrecy where “American negotiators are still pressing participating governments to open the process that sets reimbursement rates for drugs and medical devices..

As RT notes, the latest disclosure links the Healthcare Annex to the secret draft of the quite aptly-named “Transparency” Chapter of the TPP, along with each country’s negotiating position. The leaked “Annex on transparency and procedural fairness for pharmaceutical products and medical devices” is dated from December 2014, with the draft being restricted from release for four years after the passage of the TPP into law…

As the NYT notes, “foreign governments and health care activists have accused pharmaceutical giants, mostly based in the United States, of protecting profits over public health”…

“That fight re-emerged in the Pacific trade negotiations, which involve countries with strong cost-containment policies, like New Zealand, as well as poor countries like Peru and Vietnam.

The agreement “will increase the cost of medicines worldwide, starting with the 12 countries that are negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” said Judit Rius Sanjuan, a lawyer at Doctors Without Borders, a humanitarian organization that provides medical care in more than 60 countries”…

RT adds that one country that should be in arms over the TPP is Australia:

“The secret negotiations now allegedly reveal that Australia’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme might be undermined, pushing up the cost of medicines in the country.”

“United States trade negotiators have aggressively pushed for provisions favoring multinational pharmaceutical manufacturers at the expense of national governments and public healthcare systems”…

Trade Minister, Andrew Robb, has previously stated that he won’t sign any deal that extends patents or would compromise Australia’s health system.

Let’s hope he keeps his word, because that’s exactly what big pharma are pushing for. It is also what the Coalition did (i.e. extend patents) when it signed onto the Australia-US FTA a decade ago.

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Comments

  1. Crocodile Chuck

    When is the splendidly monikered Andrew Robb going to be strung up in Federation Square for treason?

  2. I want to go back to the eighties. We’ve had 30 years of destruction dismantling everything that made us unique before.

  3. They say that those that dont learn from history are doomed to repeat it, with this in mind I wonder how (with the benefit of hindsight), the actions and trade pact manoeuvrings of US pharma will be view in one hundred years (say 2115)
    You see, I’ve been reading up on the European Economic problems of the 1800’s culminating in the 1890’s depression (and wrt China: the Boxer Rebellion). Many of the enduring problems originated from the European necessity to address what was basically a balance of trade problem with China (sound familiar to anyone) It was a trade imbalance issue that created the need for the British East India company to begin shipping opium from India to China. For their efforts in developing this market the British granted themselves the exclusive right to operate the Opium trade,
    Chinese opium consumption soared and soared and soared and thereby the British restored their balance of trade with China creating in the process an imbalance with their European neighbours. This local European imbalance created a stream of Silver with which Britain financed it’s turn of the century exploits.

    • Ronin8317MEMBER

      Looking back at history, the main driver behind the exchange of goods and services is silver. In Europe, the gold to silver back then is around 1 : 12, while in China it is around 1 : 6. It’s almost like FREE MONEY. So China buffing up their military right now is not a merely a case of aggression : the Chinese leader didn’t forget history, and being rich and weak is a terrible combination.

    • Michael Pettis has a good post on macro balances in history and covers the opium trade in terms of the shortage of silver as a result of Sth American wars which forced the British to sell opium to China as the taste for Chines products tea etc was so great.

  4. After having sucked labour income (including both present and future income via debt servitude) dry, the big end of town is now going after the non-discretionary spending of the work force, in terms of cost of medicines and education of their children.

    The sad part is that Obama, Clinton, most Democrats and US Republicans in the congress (with a few exceptions – Warren, Sanders, Rand, Grayson)… the Liberals and ALP here.. they are all part of the same corporatist team facilitating the forced tranfer of income upwards.