Did the government sign away our right to cheap medication? 111



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They’re calling it an historic trade pact, but health workers are concerns that the deal struck between Australia and 11 other Pacific Rim countries will drive up the price of medicines.

Judit Rius Sanjuan from Medecins Sans Frontieres has described the Trans Pacific Partnership as “dangerous” although both the trade minister Andrew Robb and Prime Minster insist there’s nothing to worry about.

Speaking on 3AW radio, Malcolm  Turnbull said there will be no changes to Australia’s laws around medicines or the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme as a result of the TPP.

“These deals are win-win,” he said. “There is no change to our laws at all, in terms of: data protection, drug laws, patents and so forth, they all stay in place,” he said.

“This deal has no impact on the Pharmaceutical Benefits scheme, it’s not going to make drugs more expensive in Australia whatsoever.”

One of the last details to be agreed on in the TPP was how long pharmaceutical companies could protect their medicines with patents before rival companies were allowed to produce generic – and typically cheaper – versions.

The US originally wanted to grant 12 year patents but Australia refused to agree. The compromise is a five-to-eight year limit instead, Fairfax reports.

Consumer watchdog Choice remains sceptical.

“The TPP has been described as a transformational, modern agreement that will deliver huge benefits for the citizens of nations involved,” CHOICE’s campaigns manager Erin Turner told The Age. “These claims have been made with no independent assessment and no cost-benefit analysis of the agreement for Australia.”

Whats being traded away 1 1

Full details of the agreement are yet to be made available and the Opposition has stated it will be closely examining the details.

Meanwhile, Mr Sanjuan says the real losers are developing countries such as Vietnam and Peru. Currently, 80 per cent of the medications used by the not for profit medical group are cheap generic versions made by an Indian drug manufacturer.

“The big losers in the TPP are patients and treatment providers in developing countries,” he said. “Although the text has improved over the initial demands, the TPP will still go down in history as the worst trade agreement for access to medicines in developing countries, which will be forced to change their laws to incorporate abusive intellectual property protections for pharmaceutical companies.”


Are you concerned about the TPP or do you think it’s a step forward for Australia? 


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  1. If it’s such a good deal why are the details being kept secret until after it’s signed? I strongly suspect that the only winners here will be big business, not the general public.

  2. Nothing would surprise me with this Government , I will wait and see, time will tell but they will get a huge backlash if medication becomes more expensive

    12 REPLY
    • The LNP are thoroughly against the average person getting any benefit or reduction of price on anything at any time. We’re becoming cannon fodder faster than we can perceive it. When medication does cost more there’ll be nothing we can do about it. Same with fuel. They can set up all the consumer watchdogs they want, but we all can’t help but notice how they have no power at all to bring prices down.

    • I agree Aurthur and now in the news today Turnbull wants to tamper with penalty rates, they are setting out to destroy Australia.

    • If they try it, there will be rolling strikes and it be the quickest way to get rid of them from Government, I doubt Turnbull will have the guts

    • Trouble is: The unions don’t have any real power any more. They’s be powerless to stop it happening. And that’ll only get worse. Before they abolish penalty rates they’ll act on the findings of the Royal Commission and order that unions be disbanded or whatever. The LNP have a big agenda and you just watch it all fall into place while we have no choice but to stand by in horror.

    • Personally I don’t trust the LNP at all, they really have given us nothing to trust them about, it has all been lies and broken promises

    • This is just a tactic to provoke the unions into taking industrial action. Then the government can use that against Labor in the upcoming election. We’ll be bombarded by stories in the papers and on TV supporting the government’s position and Turnbull will waltz back in. Every gullible fool in the country will vote for them if they promise to get tough with the unions. It worked for Howard, after all.

    • I was listening a bit about this last night, and The Union has a $50 million war chest they will bring out with add campaigns in the lnp try anything

  3. Just as with the China FTA, the secrecy and the obfuscation in response to questions leave me very suspicious.

  4. All will be revealed in the fullness of time – when it’s all too late to go back and fix it. Anything done in secret, is not in the best interests of the population.
    Why don’t they want us to know the truth?
    Why weren’t the Australian people shown the full TPP documents?
    The government has turned into a tyrant and this is tyranny.
    We, the people, are kept in the dark and don’t count anymore.

    4 REPLY
  5. They won’t say how it’s good though. Think it’s all for the corporations and none for Australia.

  6. Scare mongering at its best, making statements before anything has been done.

    6 REPLY
    • More openness would be a great help. Our gov’ts have become so secretive in their deals that we have to listen to the whispers. Sorry Judith but I do have the (perhaps ridiculous) idea that the gov’t is there for us, all of us, and not just for the benefit of big companies and that we have a right to know full details of these agreements before they are finally signed on our behalf.

    • We do not have to know the in’s and out’s of everything they do, it is for the best of the country. It is their job to make deals with other countries to benefit us.

    • Judith Forbes – if you are prepared to trust the gov’t completely and give them a blank cheque to do anything they want on your behalf without any scrutiny – good luck to you. I stand by what I said.

    • And I stand by what I say too, I do not have to know everything because not everything is going to have any relevant to me or my life….I do not need to know everything.

    • You’re so right Judith Forbes so willing to be negative. I’ll wait for facts before I jump to conclusions

  7. the TPP is going to send us further to the wall – our government just don’t want us to see this. I have just read and shared a post from Bob Katter which is very to the point

  8. wake up Australia, they are not being secret about everything because the good guys..what have they got to hide? whatever it is it can’t be to our advantage or they would be singing it from the roof tops

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