[MCN] Latest TPP Leak Raises Burning Questions About Implications for U.S. Health Care System

Matthew Koehler mattykoehler at gmail.com
Wed Jun 10 09:09:16 EDT 2015

For Immediate Release: June 10, 2015

*Contact: *Angela Bradbery +1 (202) 588-1000
                                                Peter Maybarduk +1 (202)
588-7755, pmaybarduk at citizen.org

*Latest TPP Leak Raises Burning Questions About Implications for U.S.
Health Care System*

*Obama Administration on the Defensive Once Again as it Tries to Rally
Skeptical House Members to Support Trade Authority for Controversial Pact*

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The latest secret document from the Trans-Pacific
Partnership (TPP) negotiations – published today by WikiLeaks – shows that
the pact could expose Medicare to pharmaceutical company attacks and
constrain future policy reforms, including the ability of the U.S.
government to curb rising and unsustainable drug prices, according to
Public Citizen. The concerns about the U.S. health care system arising from
this latest leak add to the litany of reasons that nearly all Democrats in
the U.S. House of Representatives and a substantial bloc of House GOP
oppose Fast Track trade authority for the TPP.

The December 2014 draft of the “Annex on Transparency and Procedural
Fairness for Pharmaceutical Products and Medical Devices,” which sets rules
and procedures TPP country health authorities would be required to follow
regarding pharmaceutical and medical device procurement and reimbursement,
is only the latest of several draft texts from the TPP negotiations
published by WikiLeaks. Other draft sections of the pact have drawn the ire
of public interest advocates due to threats presented to a host of issues
ranging from financial regulation to tobacco control to environment to
terms allowing corporations to challenge U.S. laws in foreign tribunals.
More than 25 chapters remain shrouded in secrecy.

“This leak reveals that the Obama administration, acting at the behest of
pharmaceutical companies, has subjected Medicare to a series of procedural
rules, negotiated in secret, that would limit Congress’ ability to enact
policy reforms that would reduce prescription drug costs for Americans –
and might even open to challenge aspects of our health care system today,”
said Peter Maybarduk, director of Public Citizen’s Global Access to
Medicines Program.

The Annex was first leaked to the public in 2011. While strong opposition
from many health, consumer and labor groups and nearly every
TPP-negotiating country has led to the removal of some harmful provisions,
many others remain, raising serious questions and concerns about the
consequences of the text for U.S. health care and that of all negotiating

Importantly, this leak comes as members of Congress weigh whether to cede
their constitutional authority over trade to the Obama administration,
removing their ability to *approve the nearly-complete TPP text before the
president signs it or to amend it during floor consideration and providing
such extraordinary **powers to whomever may be president for the next six
years with respect to additional *pacts byrequiring straight up-or-down vote
*s* on *completed, signed *deals presented by the administration.

In this memo, Public Citizen’s Global Access to Medicines program presents
three questions raised by the text regarding the U.S. health care system
that the administration should answer for a public and Congress worried
about implications for rising medicine prices.

For more than half a decade, the United States has been negotiating the
TPP, a proposed free trade agreement between Australia, Brunei, Canada,
Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United
States and Vietnam. The United States has ambitions to eventually apply the
terms of the proposed TPP to all members of the Asia Pacific Economic
Cooperation (APEC) forum – roughly 40 percent of the world’s population.

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