Health: Medicine & Tobacco

Annex 26-A: Transparency and Procedural Fairness for Pharmaceutical Products and Medical Devices

Dr Deborah Gleeson, La Trobe University (12 December 2015).
[Summary] While the language of the Annex is framed around principles of transparency and fairness, the objectives of the pharmaceutical and medical device industries clearly go much further than this. The ultimate objective of the industry is expanded market access at monopoly prices dictated by industry: the target is mechanisms that impact on both market access and prices. The Annex was intended to achieve this objective through greater disclosure of information, greater industry participation, and ultimately more leverage for the industry in decision making regarding pricing, reimbursement and other decisions that impact on market share, such as the range of therapeutic indications for which a product is subsidised.

TPP: Report of the Intergovernmental Policy Advisory Committee

IGPAC (3 December 2015).
[Abstract] IGPAC strongly supports the provision (Article 29.5 of the Exceptions and General Provisions Chapter) that provides TPP members with the option of denying the use of the investor-state dispute mechanism in challenging a tobacco control measures. (A footnote makes clear that such measures are still subject to government-to-government dispute settlement.) IGPAC is very supportive of this measure in view of the investor-state cases brought against tobacco control measures in Australia and Uruguay. While this is an important safeguard, it highlights the major deficiencies and unfairness of the ISDS system, which has been successfully used to challenge legitimate, reasonable, non-discriminatory health and environmental laws and regulations in other countries. Some IGPAC members would also support the complete carveout of tobacco from the agreement given public health concerns.

On World AIDS Day, Here Are 12 Reasons TPP Is Bad for People with AIDS

[Extract] December 1 is World AIDS Day, a day described as “an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died.” The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a complex trade deal that we’re still trying to figure out all the ramifications of…Here are 12 ways TPP could be bad for people with AIDS…

TPP must not block the path to healthy climate action

Alexandra Macmillan & Rhys Jones, NZHerald (27 November 2015).
“The path towards a healthy climate will be a rocky one in the coming year. December’s global negotiations in Paris are a crucial crossroads for choosing between bold new routes to health through well-designed climate action or continuing to threaten human survival and wellbeing. Meanwhile, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement is about to add another giant obstacle to progress…”

  • Both authors are co-convenors of OraTaiao

What the TPPA means for New Zealand’s Health System

Dr Erik Monasterio, Independent News Network (20 November 2015).
Watch the full address, accompanied by a powerpoint presentation, below:

Pacific trade deal could limit affordable drugs

Tom Miles, Reuters (12 November 2015).

Full address from Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organisation, available here.

“A massive trade pact between 12 Pacific rim countries could limit the availability of affordable medicines, the head of the World Health Organization said on Thursday, joining a heated debate on the impact of the deal. “

TPPA vs Tobacco control – the devil is in the details

Mary Assunta, Malaysiakini (11 November 2015).
9 – 18 – 21 – 25 – WHO Treaty (FCTC) – Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) – Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

“However now that the whole text of the TPPA has been released, it appears the TPPA provides many other avenues for the tobacco industry to thwart and frustrate government efforts to enact stronger measures. The devil is indeed in the details of at least eight chapters…When Malaysia compromised on the original proposal to carve out tobacco control measures and settled for a narrow ISDS exception, it has left many doors wide open through the other chapters in the TPPA which will increase pressure from the tobacco industry.”

Trade, Health, And Tobacco Exceptionalism: The TPP Tobacco Carve-Out

Wendy Parmet, Health Affairs Blog (10 November 2015).
9 – Investor-State Dispute Settlement – Philip Morris – Public Health – Tobacco

“…The tension between free trade and public health is both ancient and enduring. From a free-trade perspective, public health regulations often appear as barriers to trade, sometimes with good reason. Nations have long tried to justify protectionist policies as necessary for the protection of health. Conversely, from a public health perspective, trade pacts frequently seem to favor trade over health by limiting access to vital medicines and erecting formidable barriers to public health regulations.”

The TPP’s final intellectual property (IP) chapter and access to medicines

Dr Deborah Gleeson, La Trobe University (7 November 2015).
[Extract] Despite resistance by the majority of TPP countries to the US pharmaceutical industry agenda throughout the negotiations, many provisions remain in the final text that will reduce access to affordable medicines, particularly in developing countries. These problems will be exacerbated by limited, short and inflexible transition periods for developing countries to implement the obligations…

Biologics Provisions in the Final TPP Text

Dr Deborah Gleeson, La Trobe University (6 November 2015)
18 – Australia – Public Health – Protection – Medicines

“The provisions relating to biologics are problematic and ambiguous. They appear to commit countries to providing either eight years of clinical trial data protection, or five years of clinical trial data protection along with other measures to deliver comparable outcomes. While the Australian Government has said that the regime for biologics in Australia will not change, the language leaves room for continued pressure by the United States to ensure that TPP countries prevent biosimilars from entering the market for eight years. The definition of biologics is very broad and likely to limit countries’ flexibility in determining the scope of the obligation…”

TPP: Alcoholic Beverages and Health Information/Warning Labels

Paula O’Brien and Deborah Gleeson (November 2015).
8 – 9 – 29 – Public Health Exception – Tobacco

[Abstract] There is nothing in the TPP which expressly prevents parties from introducing warning or health information labels for alcoholic beverages, or from prescribing the content, design and placement of those labels. There are obligations in the TPP which might be used to attempt to deter countries from introducing effective, evidence-based health information on alcoholic beverages. Any such attempts should be resisted, as the provisions in the TPP provide a degree of flexibility to regulate to protect the public’s health.