Australia did poorly in several key areas of the recently completed free trade agreement with the US. It failed to insulate the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) from significant change, and conceded to increased intellectual property standards. The PBS, as a system of effective bargaining with multinational pharmaceutical firms, has been deeply compromised and higher drug prices can be expected over time. The intellectual property chapter strengthens the position of patent owners and undermines the evolution of a competitive generics industry. These developments are part of a broader and internationally coordinated strategy being pursued by pharmaceutical multinationals to globalize and strengthen patent rights and monopoly profits.
|Publication status||Published - 2004|