MSF | October 2016
Trading away health: the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership
The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade agreement is being negotiated in secret, without input from public health stakeholders. A leaked draft of the negotiating text has revealed some proposed provisions that could undermine access to price-lowering, generic medicines, and thus, life-saving treatment to millions of people in the developing world.
Since 2012, the RCEP trade agreement has been under negotiation between the ten members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) members (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam) and the six countries that have existing trade agreements with ASEAN: Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea. Notably, the RCEP countries are home to nearly 50% of the world’s population, which include some of the most impoverished and marginalised communities.
The leaked draft of RCEP’s negotiating text on intellectual property (IP) and investment reveals proposals that apply to pharmaceutical products, which could affect access to affordable medicines and biomedical innovation across the Asia Pacific region.
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