By Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch
Prices of patented drugs are rising every year. Absent generic competition, there is little reason for drug firms to bring prices down. The brand-name pharmaceutical industry business model relies on maximizing profits by selling at very high prices to the few, rather than affordable prices to the many. Most nations, under pressure from high prices, ration treatment − including here. The problem is especially grave in developing nations. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) would make matters worse. The more monopoly powers policymakers provide to the pharmaceutical industry, the more treatment will have to be rationed.
In contrast, policies that provide access to affordable generic drugs are an important way to reduce spending on health care and improve access to treatment. So are policies that harness government health programs’ effective use of bulk-purchaser negotiating power combined with the related use of formulary lists of medicines that government programs will cover.
The administration says that the TPP is setting the new global standard. It is in that context that the terms of the final text must be judged: Is this the policy framework for access to medicine that we want to lock in for ourselves and export to others?