OPINION – Health-related benefits to flow from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

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Summary

Author: Philip Stevens, Director of Geneva Network

Negotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) - a regional free trade agreement which includes the US, Japan Canada, Australia, and a number of other Asian and Latin American countries are nearly complete, and look set to be ratified in 2015 following the granting of Trade Promotion Authority to the US President by Congress. Despite the economic potential of the TPP, many commentators fear that poorer TPP countries will be forced as part of the deal to accept tough new intellectual property rules that surpass the standards required by the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), which is currently the main global treaty on IPRs. In turn, they argue, this will undermine the ability of local healthcare systems to procure cheap generic drugs, driving up costs and ultimately denying essential medicines to the sick and dying. To what extent are such fears justified? This opinion article examines the arguments and the evidence.

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