Page 16 - Public Citizen News November-December 2013

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16
November/December 2013
Public Citizen News
in the next issue
Granting a Public Citizen petition,
the Food and Drug Administration
has proposed a rule that would
allow generic drugmakers to
change labeling on their products.
Public Citizen’s 2013 Year in
Review.
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Almost Half the U.S. House Opposes Fast Track
would raise drug prices and un-
dermine Internet freedom and
financial regulation would be
facing political wrath at home for
doing so on an agreement that
might never take effect.
Letters from a stunning array
of 151 House Democrats and 27
House Republicans stating oppo-
sition to Fast Track likely blind-
sided the Obama administra-
tion. But the growing opposition
wasn’t a surprise to Public Citi-
zen, whose Global Trade Watch
had been working for nearly a
year to organize such a statement
of congressional opposition to
Fast Track and ensure the news
was released in all of the TPP
countries just in time for what
was supposed to be the last round
of TPP negotiations. The TPP is a
proposed pact between the U.S.
and 11 Asian and Latin American
countries that Public Citizen has
dubbed “NAFTA on steroids.”
“Fast Track is history,” pro-
claimed Lori Wallach, director
of Public Citizen’s Global Trade
Watch. “And givenwhat we know
about the expansive threats TPP
poses, normal congressional re-
view of the deal could be the end
for TPP.”
But that wasn’t the end of
what would be a bad day for
Obama administration officials,
who have been promoting a
damaging corporate agenda in
TPP negotiations. Also on Nov.
13, WikiLeaks published a draft
chapter of the TPP — which has
been shrouded in secrecy. Public
Citizen worked behind the scenes
on the release with WikiLeaks,
so when WikiLeaks sent out its
news, Public Citizen issued an
analysis of the text, explaining
that the Obama administration
had been demanding terms that
would limit Internet freedom
and access to lifesaving medi-
cines throughout the Asia-Pacific
region.
Public Citizen’s long
battle against Fast
Track
While Fast Track has been
used only 16 times since Presi-
dent Richard Nixon hatched the
concept, it was used to railroad
through Congress controversial
pacts such as the North American
Free Trade Agreement. The last
delegation of Fast Track ended in
2007. Under Fast Track, the exec-
utive branch unilaterally selected
trade partners, set agreements’
terms and signed them before
Congress had even voted.
Because most members now in
Congress were not familiar with
Fast Track, starting shortly after
last year’s election, the Global
Trade Watch team designed a
plan to educate them and their
constituents, and organize op-
position. The team’s organiz-
ers traveled to scores of states,
its researchers compiled details
about the damning outcomes
of recent Fast Tracked pacts, its
communications staffers spread
the word through social and tra-
ditional media, and its legislative
assistants organized more than
100 meetings with lawmakers.
The international campaign team
helped spread news of the grow-
ing opposition in the other TPP
countries.
WikiLeaks revelation
The draft TPP chapter that
WikiLeaks released belied the
administration’s stated commit-
ments to reduce health care costs
and advance free expression
online. The leaked text showed
that the U.S. is seeking to impose
the most extreme demands of
Big Pharma, which would raise
medicine prices in Asian and
Latin American countries, while
locking U.S. consumers into bad
rules at home. The chapter also
features proposals to limit Inter-
net freedom and access to educa-
tional materials, and force Inter-
net providers to act as copyright
enforcers and cut off people’s In-
ternet access.
“The Obama administration’s
proposals are the worst — the
most damaging for health — we
have seen in a U.S. trade agree-
ment to date,” said Peter May-
barduk, director of Public Citi-
zen’s Global Access to Medicines
Program.