Obama Administration Positions Roll Back Initial 2007 Reforms Made by Bush Administration on Medicines Patents, Abandon Access to Medicines Commitments
LIMA, PERU - Leaks of U.S. proposals for the Trans-Pacific Free Trade Agreement (FTA) reveal that the Obama administration has reversed initial reforms to U.S. trade pact drug patent policies to enhance access to affordable medicines that were made during the George W. Bush administration while demanding new rights for pharmaceutical firms to challenge pricing and other drug formulary policies used by many countries to keep down prices, said Public Citizen as the ninth round of talks get underway in Peru.
roll back of the modest Bush-era reforms is shocking, but what is truly
stunning is the new proposal to empower pharmaceutical firms to attack
the medicine formulary systems that New Zealand, Australia and other
developed countries have used so successfully to achieve what is ostensibly
an Obama administration goal of reducing sky-high drug prices,"
said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch.
That the leaked documents reveal that U.S. negotiators are pushing such retrograde proposals despite congressional and public and congressional demands to the contrary highlights the need for regular release of Trans-Pacific FTA negotiating texts. This has been a repeated demand of civil society organizations in the involved countries. Twenty-two U.S. labor, consumer, faith, environmental and human rights organizations - including the AFL-CIO, Sierra Club, Citizens Trade Campaign, Presbyterian Church (USA) and Public Citizen - again wrote U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk last week calling on the U.S. government to implement the administration's transparency pledges and publicly release draft negotiating texts.
Past demands for access to negotiating document have been rebuffed, although the negotiating countries are all members of the World Trade Organization, which increasingly does release draft texts, among other negotiating venues which provide greater transparency. In September at the Chicago round of negotiations, Trans-Pacific FTA negotiators admitted that they had signing a special pact to keep all documents relating to these trade talks secret. While the U.S. public and press are not provided basic information what U.S. negotiators are bargaining for - and bargaining away - until agreements are completed, executives from hundreds of corporations have been named 'official trade advisors' by the Obama administration and given access to the texts.,
The U.S. organizations' letter, as well as letters from civil society groups in the other involved countries to their governments can be viewed at http://bit.ly/nmiw4v
Public Citizen is a national, non-profit public interest organization based in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit www.citizen.org
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