Metro advertisements for Doctors Without Borders, 2015. Photograph by Drew Angerer
Press release |

TPP trade pact will deepen global crisis of exorbitant drug prices unless dangerous terms are removed

Photograph by Drew Angerer
Metro advertisements for Doctors Without Borders, 2015. Photograph by Drew Angerer

Atlanta/New York, 25 September 2015 — As public outrage about exorbitant drug prices features in new headlines in the US and around the world, negotiators and trade ministers from the 12 Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries are converging in Atlanta to potentially finalize the trade pact, which has been negotiated in secret over a period of more than five years. Recent leaked copies of the TPP’s intellectual property chapter confirm the inclusion of harmful rules that will lock in high prices and block affordable generic medicines for years. MSF urges all TPP countries to firmly reject provisions that will deepen the global crisis of unaffordable medicines and health products.

Of particular concern is the push to include new and additional periods of monopoly exclusivity for biologic health products, which would block affordable access to the latest medical advances for millions around the world. Biologics refers to a class of medical products which include everything from vaccines to cancer and multiple sclerosis drugs. If a data exclusivity obligation is included in the TPP, it would prevent national regulatory authorities from using clinical trial data needed to approve price-lowering generic biologic products, regardless of patent protection.  

MSF Statement by Judit Rius Sanjuan, U.S. manager and legal policy advisor for MSF’s Access Campaign:

"Governments around the world are under pressure from patients and medical providers to address exorbitant drug pricing; meanwhile, trade negotiators are on the verge of finalizing a trade agreement that will affect millions of people and that includes terms that will lock in high prices and keep affordable generic medicines off the market for years to come.

MSF is urging trade negotiators to remove these harmful provisions, which have been included at the behest of big pharmaceutical firms. Pharmaceutical companies already enjoy some of the highest profit margins and longest monopoly protections of any industry, and granting them extended and additional market exclusivity is just another way to delay price-lowering competition and keep medicines out of reach of MSF medical operations and millions of people. It’s time to listen to the collective voice of the 800 million people who will suffer the consequences of decisions made behind closed doors:  as representatives of your respective countries’ citizens, we urge you to uphold your obligations to protect public health and fight back against unjust profiteering.”

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