For Release October 14, 2015
Deborah V. Hall, M.D.
AMSA Opposes Trans-Pacific Partnership Deal–Bad for Public Health and Access to Medicines.
Sterling, Virginia: On October 5th the final round of negotiations around the Trans-Pacific Partnership were concluded in Atlanta, GA. With this, 12 countries making up 40% of the world’s GDP have agreed to endanger the health of patients around the globe by limiting access to medicines and increasing the reach of corporations into the public sphere. This event marks the beginning of the final step toward fast-track adoption of the agreement. As this bad deal now heads to Congress, we must act to fully expose the details of this trade agreement to the American public, strengthen the already vigorous grassroots opposition, and stop it.
Despite widespread criticism from AMSA and many others about the lack of transparency, the public was shut out of these negotiations. The negotiations for this trade treaty have been shrouded in secrecy, attended only by trade ministers from each country as well as by a handful of corporate representatives. From leaked documents, it is known that intellectual property provisions within the TPP have the potential to lead to extended patents for non-novel drugs making the path to generics more costly, and effectively depriving patients of access to essential medicines, especially in developing countries where lower-cost generics can be critical to individual and population health. In addition, provisions within the TPP will give private corporations the power to challenge state law, including laws intended to increase public health, through a mechanism known as investor state dispute settlement. These disputes are overseen by an “international tribunal” whose members are chosen by uncertain means but whose decisions may effectively negate national public health policies.
This agreement is largely the result of industry input with very little to no public involvement. It is a bottom line gift to multinational corporations, including pharmaceutical companies, paid at the expense of consumer protections and patient health. AMSA remains firm in our commitment to access to medicines for all and to the sovereignty of nations in making public health decisions free from corporate influence. We will stand together with our allies including Doctors without Borders (MSF), Universities Allied for Essential Medicines, Public Citizen, and many others to bring down the TPP as it moves to Congress in the coming weeks.
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/.