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  • Exclude tobacco from the Trans Pacific Partnership

    The U.S. Trade Representative intends to introduce a proposal on tobacco at negotiations to create the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade agreement among 12 nations, at meetings in Brunei this week. The proposal capitulates to multinational tobacco corporations, jeopardizing the nation's health and economic welfare.

    Tobacco companies have recently accelerated their use of trade rules to attempt to delay and reverse tobacco control measures that limit marketing in the U.S., Australia, Uruguay, Norway, and Ireland. Trade rules grant corporations rights to contest nations' public health and other policies. Countries that lose trade challenges face stiff financial penalties, payable to the complaining corporation.

    Public health and medical advocates in the U.S. and abroad have urged the USTR to exclude tobacco control protections from trade challenges under the TPP. The USTR informally floated a policy in 2012 that could create a "safe harbor" for some tobacco control regulations. Many legal and medical experts noted that tobacco companies could easily exploit the remaining substantial loopholes.

    But the tobacco industry marshaled opposition claiming that the U.S. proposal might actually reduce tobacco use, tobacco-related deaths, and tobacco sales. Other corporations backed up Big Tobacco, expressing concern that addressing the uniquely lethal effects of tobacco ...

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  • Why I'm Opting Out of the AMA Masterfile

    It’s hard for me to believe that I’ll have the privilege of calling myself someone’s doctor in a few short months. As a graduating medical student, I look back on my education and see that it was driven by a spark shared by all in all AMSA members: the fervent hope to help my future patients. And it’s precisely this hope that drives me to pledge to opt out of drug company access to my future prescribing information. I urge you to join me.

    When I started medical school, I had no idea that pharmaceutical companies know exactly what medicines each doctor prescribes to his or her patients. I was even more surprised to learn that this capacity is enabled by the American Medical Association through the sale of a database called the “Masterfile.” All medical students and doctors are automatically enrolled in the Masterfile—regardless of whether or not we are AMA members. Each year, the AMA makes more than $40 million selling this information, which allows pharmaceutical companies to link prescribing records to doctors’ identities. The result is targeted marketing pitches, often designed to promote more expensive medicines that aren't necessarily more effective. 

    The spooky nature of being watched by ...

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  • We Can End AIDS!!!

    We at the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) are very excited for tomorrow's We Can End AIDS March in Washington, DC! AMSA will be joining thousands of other marchers and asking for "accountability from Big Pharma and government officials around the world."

    What does this mean?

    We want our governments to put patients ahead of pharmaceutical profits. Instead of being influenced by Big Pharma to create trade policies and legislation that enables access to affordable medicines rather than expensive, brand name alternatives. Only 7.4 million of the 34 million infected with HIV worldwide are currently receiving ARVs. We know thanks to the NIH funded HPTN052 study that treatment is prevention. We need our policymakers take this science and put this into practice through laws that allow for patients worldwide to have access to cheaper generics.

    To find out more or join us in DC tomorrow - http://www.amsa.org/AMSA/Homepage/Events/IAC.aspx

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  • President Obama: Make Publicly Funded Research Free, Available

    Christopher A. Hesh
    University of Maryland School of Medicine c/o 2015
    Co-President of UMD AMSA

    Barriers to healthcare access manifest in many forms and AMSA stands at the forefront of the fight to tear down these barriers in the effort to establish healthcare as a human right. Integral to this fight for access is the engine that drives discovery of healthcare delivery methods and new treatment programs: taxpayer-funded research.

    The American public spends $60 billion each year on non-defense research through government programs like the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Department of Energy (DOE). [1] Accessing this research can cost anywhere from $15 to $32 for a single article to multi-thousand dollar subscription fees for a single journal, forcing taxpayers to pay twice: once to fund the research and again to see the results. [2] This necessity of paying multiple times for access to life-saving research furthermore serves as a direct barrier to healthcare access for patients, who rely on their physicians to provide them with timely treatment programs informed by federally-funded research.

    We know from the success of the NIH Public Access Policy, which requires all NIH-funded research to be open-access 12 ...

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