WikiLeaks Publishes TPP Intellectual Property Chapter

Public Citizen Analyses of the Newly Leaked Intellectual Property Chapter

More Analyses of Plant-Related Intellectual Property

Derechos Digitales Analyses of the Newly Leaked Intellectual Property Chapter

Other Organizations' Analyses of the Newly Leaked Intellectual Property Chapter


Attack on Affordability of Cancer Treatments Revealed in New WikiLeaks Trans-Pacific Trade Pact Text

Obama Administration Budget Pledge to Cut Medicare, Medicaid Costs Would Be Undermined

October 16, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Access to affordable cancer treatments in the U.S and 11 other countries would be delayed for years if terms revealed today in the leaked draft Intellectual Property Chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) were to go into effect, Public Citizen said. The text, obtained by WikiLeaks, analyzed in collaboration with Public Citizen and released today also shows worrying developments on other patent and copyright issues and explains in part why TPP talks remain deadlocked a month before President Barack Obama’s declared deadline for a deal.

“The leak shows our government demanding rules that would lead to preventable suffering and death in Pacific Rim countries, while eliminating opportunities to ease financial hardship on American families and our health programs at home,” said Peter Maybarduk, director of Public Citizen’s Global Access to Medicines Program. Public Citizen’s analysis and background information is available at http://www.citizen.org/tpp-ip-wikileaks.

Measures in the text, which advantage the patent-based pharmaceutical industry, face stiff opposition from most of the other TPP countries and health care advocates. Entrenched disagreements on these issues will be among the top challenges for TPP trade ministers who will be meeting in Australia at the end of October in an effort to meet Obama’s November deadline to complete negotiations.

Large brand-name drug firms want to use the TPP to impose rules throughout Asia that will raise prices on medicine purchases for consumers and governments, and be in effect for the next several decades. With billions at stake, Big Pharma wants the TPP to be a road map for rules that will govern Pacific Rim economies for the next several decades.

A U.S. proposal in the text – to provide long automatic monopolies for biotech drugs or biologics, which includes most new treatments for cancer – contradicts the policies included in recent White House budgets and if adopted would undermine key cost savings touted by the administration. The past budgets have included a specific pledge to shorten the same monopoly periods so as to reduce cost burdens on Medicare and Medicaid.

If the TPP is ratified with this U.S.-proposed provision included, Congress would be unable to reduce monopoly periods without risking significant penalties and investor-state arbitration.

“The White House undermines its pledge to cut drug costs with the harmful position it is taking in these secretive negotiations, at the behest of the major pharmaceutical companies,” said Maybarduk.

The TPP is a controversial agreement being pushed by multinational corporations and negotiated behind closed doors by officials from the United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. The newly leaked text is dated May 16, 2014; however, through close monitoring of negotiations, Public Citizen has been able to establish that the contentious issues revealed in the text remain unresolved.

WikiLeaks obtained an earlier draft of the same chapter last year, dated Aug. 30, 2013. The measure on biotech drugs is one of several key revelations new to this leak. Others include:

  • A measure that could expand online service provider surveillance of Internet users’ activity, including in the United States;
  • A rule to require the patenting of plant-related inventions, such as the genes inserted into genetically modified plants, putting farmers in developing countries at the mercy of the agriculture industry, including seed manufacturers such as Monsanto, and threatening food security in these countries more broadly;
  • Proposals for mitigating the pact’s harms to access to medicines in developing countries, none of which will suffice;
  • The elimination of proposals for patents on surgical methods;
  • A reduction in scope of other proposed monopoly protections for the pharmaceutical industry; and
  • The expected failure of a thinly veiled U.S. attack on an India-style pro-competition patent law, which facilitates access to medicines.

“Many Pacific Rim negotiators deserve great credit for standing up to one of the most powerful industries on earth,” said Burcu Kilic, a Public Citizen expert in intellectual property rules who has closely monitored the talks. “But still the text is far from being acceptable. It would hurt people and developing economies if it were implemented.”

TPP negotiators are scheduled to sit down again in Australia on Oct. 19-24 with a ministerial-level meeting following on Oct. 25-27. Obama seeks a final announcement on the TPP on Nov. 11, when he will be with other TPP country heads of state in China at the APEC summit.


Public Citizen Resource Page on WikiLeaks' Release of the November 2013 TPP IP Chapter

More Resources from Public Citizen's Global Access to Medicines Program on the TPP

Back to Access to Medicines Page

 

Highlights from the October 2015 WikiLeaks Text


  • The first-ever exclusivity for biologic medicines, providing a minimum 5-years of monopoly protection;
  • Five years exclusivity for small-molecule drugs and three years exclusivity for new clinical information on old medicines (or alternatively five years of exclusivity for new combination medicines);
  • Patent term extensions for perceived delays in examination of patent applications as well as for delays in regulatory reviews for marketing approvals (subject to certain limitations);
  • Linkage of patent protections to the regulatory approval process (without automatic delay in marketing approval);
  • Provisions for mitigating the pact’s harms to access to medicines in developing countries, none of which will suffice; and
  • A reduction in scope and elimination of other proposed monopoly protections for the pharmaceutical industry.

 

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