AMSA On Call
Go Back
  • Physicians and Scientists-in-Training Push for Access in TPP Negotiations

    According to recently leaked text of the Intellectual Property Chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the United States and other governments are prioritizing multinational corporate profits over patients and consumers around the world including their own citizens. The American Medical Student Association (AMSA), Australian Medical Student Association, International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA), IFMSA-Quebec, Student Global AIDS Campaign (SGAC), and Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM) today sent a letter to TPP negotiators urging them to ensure that all TPP provisions provide future patients access to evidence-based and effective medicines and procedures rather than forcing us, as practitioners, to compromise our medical professionalism and the quality of care we are able to provide our patients.

    On November 13, 2013, WikiLeaks released the entire consolidated negotiating text for the Intellectual Property (IP) Chapter of the TPP. These organizations, representing pharmacists, biomedical researchers, and physicians-in-training from countries participating in TPP negotiations, expressed their concerns regarding the chapter text stating “the proposed provisions will severely restrict access to affordable medicines, access to knowledge, and access to responsible innovation.”

    This week, TPP negotiators are meeting in Salt Lake City to further negotiate the Intellectual Property Chapter provisions. The organizational letter calls for the following:

    • Removal of dispute resolution provisions that will compromise any of the safeguards found in the WTO TRIPS Agreement that allow governments to use its flexibilities to protect public health within their borders
    • Removal of any provisions that would lower the global standards for earning patents including “evergreening” or use of minor modifications of existing drugs to extend market exclusivity
    • Removal of any provision to provide data exclusivity for biologics
    • Exemption from patent infringement of diagnostic, therapeutic, and surgical procedures similar to 35 USC 287(c) allowing for medical practitioners to be immunized from a suit particularly when the machine, manufacture or composition of matter itself is not patented
    • Removal of any provision such as patent term adjustments for patent prosecution or regulatory periods that would delay entry of generic drugs into the market, thereby restricting access to affordable medicines.
    • Removal of patent linkage provisions that would cause drug regulatory authorities to take on the additional task of early patent enforcement, allowing for bogus patents to be a barrier to generic drug registration.

    Even if you're not a negotiator, you can still take action to make sure that the TPP prioritizes patients over profit. Click here to join Doctors Without Borders in sending letters to the United States Trade Representative Michael Forman and to spread the word about the TPP's harmful provisions with some sample Tweets and Facebook posts.

    Full story

    Comments (0)

  • AMSA Testifies On TTIP Negotiations

    Yesterday, AMSA National President Dr. Nida Degesys testified in front of the Office of the United States Trade Representative.

    Below are some of her comments that were submitted on behalf of the organization regarding the Administration’s intention to enter into negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) Agreement.

    As physicians-in-training, we believe that trade agreements should promote public health and access to medicines. For this reason, we urge the exclusion of any and all intellectual property provisions as well as any tobacco and alcohol provisions in the TTIP. Finally, we demand full transparency in the negotiations.

    First, during our medical training, we witness firsthand how access to affordable medications is critical in preventing unnecessary deaths due to both infectious and non-communicable diseases. Unfortunately, it appears that recent free trade agreements (FTAs) including the Australia-United States FTA and Korea-United States FTA as well as the current Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) negotiations compromise this access by imposing unprecedented TRIPS-plus IP provisions. These provisions have the potential to jeopardize millions of lives in participating countries by granting monopoly protections to pharmaceutical companies, which significantly drive up the costs of medicines. Even in the United States, there has been an outcry from the physician community regarding the high cost of medicines. Just last month, over 100 oncologists agreed that the prices of brand-name cancer drugs is “astronomical, unsustainable, and perhaps even immoral.” The United States health care system has greatly benefitted from generic competition......It is unacceptable that cost as a result of this agreement will become a barrier to access and ultimately, a healthy life.

    On behalf of more than 35,000 physicians-in-training, we implore you to ensure that any TTIP agreement ensures our future patients are able to access evidence-based and effective medicines and procedures rather than forcing us to compromise our medical professionalism and the quality of care we provide our patients.

    To ensure the TTIP does not compromise access to medicines AMSA is urging the following:

    • Prohibition of “evergreening” or use of minor modifications of existing drugs to extend market exclusivity;
    • Exemption from patent infringement of diagnostic, therapeutic, and surgical procedures similar to 35 USC 287(c); 
    • Rejection of any provision to provide data exclusivity for biologics;
    • Removal of intellectual property as an actionable “investment” allowing pharmaceutical and medical device companies to skirt domestic regulation and overturn national public health legislation; and
    • Preservation of existing national pharmaceutical benefit schemes such as the Pharmaceutical Benefits Board in Sweden, Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme in the United Kingdom, and the Veteran Health Administration in the United States.

    Full story

    Comments (0)

  • Let's Go NCDFREE!

    Launched by the Young Professionals Chronic Disease Network and Australian design firm Local Peoples, NCDFREE (www.ncdfree.org), is a global social movement that will address NCD (non-communicable disease) inequalities and highlight young change-makers striving to make a difference locally and worldwide.

    NCDs, such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and lung disease, kill more people than any other cause worldwide – 35 million every year. Instead of blaming individuals and painting NCDs as a disease affecting older, wealthier people, NCDFREE will change the narrative to one that shows the NCD burden resting largely in developing countries and affecting individuals in the prime of their lives.

    The first step in defining the NCD narrative is through three short films. These films will highlight the global inequities wrapped up with NCDs by profiling the inspiring work of young change-makers in Bangladesh, Kenya, and Mongolia.

    For a glimpse of the type of films that will follow, check out our short film: http://vimeo.com/62332644.

    Full story

    Comments (0)

  • Landmark Ruling on Generic Drugs

    Today, India's Supreme Court rejected an application from Novartis AG for a patent on a cancer drug. This is a landmark ruling that will ensure that poor patients worldwide will have access to lifesaving medications.

    Novartis' application asked for a new patent to protect its investment in the cancer drug Glivec. India has a large generic drug industry - almost $26 billion - so this decision impacts much of the developing world.

    AMSA continues to pressure pharmaceutical companies to provide affordable medicines to developing countries and lobbies to ensure that international trade regulations afford the right to do so.

    Read more from the New York Times.

    Full story

    Comments (0)

  • Medicines Patent Pool Signs Agreement with ViiV for Expansion of Access to Pediatric AIDS Drugs

    AMSA welcomes the recent announcement of a collaboration between the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) and ViiV to improve access to pediatric HIV medicines and stimulate creation of new pediatric formulations, including a license for the pediatric formulation of a crucial antiretroviral, abacavir, which will greatly expand access for at least 98.7 percent of children living with HIV.

    The Memorandum of Understanding signed by both parties greatly improves upon the previous licenses negotiated by the MPP and is the most far-reaching agreement yet between the MPP and a pharmaceutical company. In particular, AMSA would like to congratulate the MPP on specific provisions in the agreement: an expanded geographic scope of 118 countries as well as any country without a blocking patent for the abacavir sub-licenses as well as any pipeline product for pediatric use, a royalty-free and non-exclusive abacavir license, the ability to manufacture anywhere in the world, lack of restrictions on the procurement of the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) and finished product in the licensed territory, and a commitment to work with third-parties to develop fixed-dose combinations.

    “While we applaud ViiV’s efforts in working with the Medicines Patent Pool to increase access to these life-saving medicines, we hope that continued negotiations will lead to similar, if not better agreements for drugs in their pipeline, such as dolutegravir for both children and adults,” says Reshma Ramachandran, AMSA’s PharmFree Fellow. “We hope that other companies including Johnson and Johnson, Merck, and AbbVie as well as GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer that launched ViiV will continue to work with the Medicines Patent Pool to further efforts to collaboratively maximize access to these drugs for patients worldwide.”

    In December 2012, AMSA joined other organizations including Health Global Access Project, Universities Allied for Essential Medicines, and Oxfam International to call upon pharmaceutical companies to enter into and conclude negotiations with the MPP.

    Full story

    Comments (0)

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. Next page

What is AMSA On Call?

AMSA On Call is the official blog of the American Medical Student Association. Join us as we discuss the hottest issues in health care. 

Join Us This Fall!

AMSA Training Grounds

This fall, in Chicago and Chapel Hill, future physicians from around the world will come together for inspiration, camaraderie, knowledge, networking and fun—you have to be there! Register today.

Follow Us

Follow us on FaceBook Follow us on Twitter AMSA on YouTube AMSA RSS


Save the Date

AMSA's 2015 Annual Convention
AMSA's 2015 Annual Convention

February 26 - March 1, 2015
Arlington, VA / Washington, DC

Current Campaigns

AMSA actively focuses on campaigns throughout the year that align with our organization's aspirations, mission and values.

The New Physician (TNP)

The New Physician MagazineRead AMSA's award-winning magazine & past issues.