Medical Journal of Australia • Volume 194 Number 2 • 17 January 2011
The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement:
challenges for Australian health and medicine policies
Thomas A Faunce and Ruth Townsend
Four formal rounds of Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement
(TPPA) negotiations took place in 2010. They involved over
200 officials from Australia, the United States, New Zealand,
Chile, Singapore, Brunei, Peru, Vietnam and Malaysia.
Future negotiations officially are set to include three issues
with public health and medicines policy implications for
Australia and our region: ways to approach regulatory coherence and transparency;
how to benefit multinational and small–medium
multilateral investor–state dispute settlement.
US-based multinational pharmaceutical companies are
lobbying for TPPA provisions like those in the Australia–US
Free Trade Agreement, which reduce government cost-effectiveness regulatory control of pharmaceuticals,
threatening equitable access to medicines.
They also advocate increased TPPA intellectual monopoly
privilege protection, which will further limit the development
of Australian generic medicine enterprises and restrict patient
access to cheap, bioequivalent prescription drugs.
Of particular concern is that proposed TPPA multilateral
investor–state dispute settlement procedures would allow
US corporations (as well as those of other TPPA nations) to
obtain damages against Australian governments through
international arbitral proceedings if their investments are
impeded by Australian public health and environment
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