The Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement and public health: Why we should be concerned

Ashley Schram (Grau), Ronald Labonte, Kapil Khatter

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    In October 2012, Canada became a negotiating member of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement along with 11 other Pacific Rim countries. Widely touted as "a model for 21st-century trade agreements,"1 it extends well beyond traditional trade issues into domestic policy, creating a number of concerns about its implications for public health. These concerns include potential increases in pharmaceutical costs, the undermining of Canadian patent law, and strengthened investor rights over public health regulations to limit the consumption of products harmful to health. The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) currently being negotiated between Canada and the European Union has already been forecast to increase Canadian drug costs by between $850 million and $1.6 billion annually by extending patent protection; leaked text of the TPP suggests that its provisions would increase these costs further.2 (See also Box 1.) The TPP's draft chapter on intellectual property rights goes beyond CETA, allowing the patenting of new forms and uses of old drugs regardless of efficacy, and introducing the patenting of diagnostic, therapeutic, and surgical methods. Although the rationale for extending patents is that it will lead to increased research and development spending in Canada, brand-name pharmaceutical companies have failed to comply with similar commitments in the past
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)100-101
    JournalOpen Medicine
    Volume8
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

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