In addition to creating the largest global trade agreement since NAFTA, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) threatens to provide unprecedented perks and protections for pharmaceutical companies while threatening the sustainability of public health programs like Medicare and Medicaid.
Older Americans should be very concerned about this deal,” warned Alliance for Retired Americans President Robert Roach, Jr. in a December 15 editorial. “The TPP would enact unprecedented protections for Big Pharma. It would lock in patent exclusivity for biologics – specialty drugs used to treat diseases such as cancer and rheumatoid arthritis. Allowing pharmaceutical companies to maintain a monopoly on these drugs before less expensive generic versions can be made by other companies is against the interest of American consumers.”
The former IAM Secretary-Treasurer also warned that provisions of the deal could allow corporations to use the TPP’s Investor State Dispute Settlement process to bypass the U.S. legal system and challenge government measures in a secret, international court if the industry feels certain requirements in TPP are not being met and the government’s policy “unfairly” impacts the company’s expected future profits.
Americans pay the highest prices for prescription drugs in the world,” said Roach. “Last year, drug prices increased by 13 percent, eight times the rate of inflation. High drug prices not only hurt families, they drive up the amount that taxpayers pay to support Medicare and Medicaid, weakening these programs and draining government coffers and the Medicare trust fund.”