The TPPA Intellectual Property chapter leaked today confirms fears that access to medicines could be more difficult and expensive, and uncovers surprising new implications for the Treaty of Waitangi, the Green Party said today.
“The leaked text appears to confirm that the TPPA could become a vehicle for multinational pharmaceutical companies to slow down access to new drugs and increase their prices,” Green Party trade spokesperson Russel Norman said.
“The leaked IP chapter reads like a list of things that drug companies could do to protect their profits at the expense of people’s health, including creating new, longer, and stronger patent and regulatory systems for pharmaceutical monopolies.
“It’s clear that the US is pushing hard on behalf of the drug companies, while other countries aren’t. Will New Zealand give in to US demands in return for small concessions in dairy market access?
“Things like data exclusivity for biologic drugs will have very real human impacts by making it harder for people to access and afford medicines.
“Another thing the leak highlights is that New Zealand appears to be opposed to protections for traditional indigenous knowledge, intellectual property, and resource rights, with possibly significant implications for Treaty of Waitangi claims.
“New Zealand and Canada seem to be alone in trying to water down protections for indigenous rights – presumably our governments think they already know best in this area.
“The New Zealand government needs to come clean about what exactly the TPPA means for Pharmac and the Treaty of Waitangi, both which are very important and unique aspects of New Zealand,” Dr Norman said.
The text leaked today is dated 11 May 2015, and will have been the current negotiating document at the start of last week’s negotiations in Hawaii. While some aspects are likely to have changed as a result of the Hawaii negotiations, recent statements from negotiators indicate that pharmaceuticals and intellectual property issues are still highly contentious sticking points and haven’t been agreed yet.