FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 12, 2015
Media Contact: Deborah V. Hall, MD, American Medical Student Association (AMSA)
Medical Students, Health Advocates Decry Trans-Pacific Trade Deal as Attack on Affordable Medicines, Sweetheart Deal for Drug Companies at Press Conference and Street Theater at Pfizer Corporate Office
Obama and Pfizer CEO Seize Medicines, Tie Doctors’ Hands in Street Theater Performance
November 13, 2015 *12:15 PM* Pfizer Headquarters, 235 E 42nd St between 2nd and 3rd Aves., Manhattan
New York, NY–Physicians and physicians-in-training from the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) will join activists from Health Global Access Project and TradeJustice New York Metro on Friday, November 13 in front of Pfizer’s world headquarters for a press conference focused on threats to access to health within the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Participants will deliver the message–the TPP is bad for patients in the United States and around the world, and will render physicians helpless against Big Pharma’s iron-grip on drug pricing and access to medicines. The demonstration will include street theatre featuring President Obama and Pfizer’s CEO Ian Read, snatching meds from the hands of healthcare providers and tying their hands with the rope of the TPP.
Years of secret negotiations that were largely open only to government trade officials and corporate representatives finally concluded last month and the long-awaited text was released last week. On the same day, President Obama notified Congress that he intends to sign the agreement, after which Congress will be required to vote on legislation to implement the deal under “Fast Track”rules. Our worst fears have been confirmed – the agreement has put public health on the back burner, restricting access to medicines for patients here in the U.S. and around the world, endangering their lives. The text includes policies that will make it easier for large drug companies to “evergreen” or extend patent terms and limit competition from generic producers. In addition, civil society organizations report that the language within the agreement could permit the possibility of industry challenges to U.S. Medicare/Medicaid formularies, and extend exclusivity periods for important biologic drugs used to treat cancers.
“This agreement was negotiated with direct input from industry, while health advocates and civil society were shutout– and the final text reflects that imbalance,” comments AMSA’s president, Deborah Hall. “Trade that puts vital medicines out of reach for vulnerable populations and compromises public health laws is neither free nor fair and we will continue to speak out and fight this at every opportunity,” The event will kick off AMSA’s Fall Conference–a day of programming around issues of social justice and medicine at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Friday’s action is being carried out in solidarity with a larger mobilization of groups partnering with Flush the TPP.
About the American Medical Student Association
AMSA is the oldest and largest independent association of physicians-in-training in the United States. Founded in 1950, AMSA is a student-governed, non-profit organization committed to representing the concerns of physicians-in-training. To learn more about AMSA, our strategic priorities, or joining the organization, please visit us online at www.amsa.org/.