A secret deal is being thrashed out which gives US corporations unprecedented leverage in this part of the world. How secret?
Six hundred US corporate advisors have negotiated and had input into the TPP, and the proposed draft text has not been made available to the public, the press or policymakers.
The level of secrecy surrounding the agreements is unparalleled – paramilitary teams scatter outside the premise of each round of discussions while helicopters loom overhead – media outlets impose a near-total blackout of reportage on the subject and US Senator Ron Wyden, the Chair of the Congressional Committee with jurisdiction over TPP, was denied access to the negotiation texts. “The majority of Congress is being kept in the dark as to the substance of the TPP negotiations, while representatives of US corporations — like Halliburton, Chevron, PhaRMA, Comcast and the Motion Picture Association of America — are being consulted and made privy to details of the agreement,” said Wyden, in a floor statement to the US Congress.
How would it impact healthcare? It would affect drug prices as Big Pharma would take a tighter grip on their monopoly of patented drugs by changing the ground rules covering the patents
The TPP would impose punishing regulations that give multinational corporations unprecedented rights to demand taxpayer compensation for policies they think will undermine their expected future profits straight from the treasuries of participating nations – it would push the agenda of Big PhaRMA in the developing world to impose longer monopoly controls on drugs, drastically limiting access to affordable generic medications that people depend on.
Washington is demanding aggressive intellectual property provisions that extend existing patents on medicines for up to 10 years in addition to the current requirement of 20 years.
“We are against the patent extension. According to the agreement, if a medicine is launched in the US, and then three years later it is launched in Malaysia, the patent would start from when it is launched here and not when it was launched earlier in the US, this is not fair,” said Malaysian Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai who has also argued that the TPP would make healthcare less affordable to the public.
According to leaked draft texts, the TPP would also impose investor protections that incentivise offshoring jobs through special benefits for companies – the TPP stifles innovation by requiring internet service providers to police user-activity and treat small-scale individual downloads as large-scale for-profit violators.
There should be greater transparency and consumers need to be aware that their right to affordable drugs is in serious jeopardy. The new Health Minister will be announced today. What will Malaysia’s stand be? Back in August 2012, it was reported Malaysia (or rather the previous Health Minister) was against the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement