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Trans Pacific Partnership Provisions in Intellectual Property, Transparency, and Investment Chapters Threaten Access to Medicines in the US and Elsewhere

March 2016

Brook Baker


The article examines some provisions of the Trans-Pacific Partnership specifically the IP chapter (chapter 4), and points out that the patent and IP laws will have potentially negative effects on access to medicine and care both in the U.S. and the other 11 countries involved. The article mentions that patent laws in the TPP weaken the standards required for receiving a patent and prevent or interfere with the creation of generic medicines in ways that exceed current U.S. law. Further, the article argues that the TPP treats IPs as protected investments and this will lead to reduced governmental authority in regulating pharmaceutical IPs and prevent them from making actions that would be considered discriminatory to foreign IPs, even at the cost of public health.

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Policy Implications

This article can be used both in estimating future effects of the TPP and attempting to modify or offset policies contained within the TPP. The article mentions that the supposed benefits of the stronger IP protection is to create further incentives for pharmaceutical and medical companies to innovate and find treatments to previously untreatable illness. The article mentions that this same effect can potentially be found if policy was in place to encourage governments to fully fund R&D for medical innovations. Further the article argues that at the very least, the TPP should be modified to not add additional patent protection.

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