September 11, 2012
"Right now, in Leesburg, Va., the office of the U.S. Trade Representative is negotiating a so-called 'trade agreement' -- the 'Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement' -- that could put the lives of millions of innocent civilians at risk" by potentially limiting access to life-saving medications, including antiretroviral drugs, Robert Naiman, policy director at Just Foreign Policy, writes in the Huffington Post Blog. "The process is secret: USTR refuses to publish a draft negotiating text, so any American who isn't cleared by USTR to see the text can't say for sure exactly what USTR is doing right now," he writes, adding, "But because there was a previous leak of the chapter of the draft negotiating text that dealt with intellectual property claims, people who have followed these issues closely have some idea of what USTR has been doing on our dime."
Naiman says Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) earlier this year "said, USTR is 'promoting restrictive trade policies that would make it much harder for patients, governments and treatment providers like MSF to access price-lowering generic drugs.'" He continues, "We shouldn't have to fight USTR on access to essential medicines every time they negotiate a new 'trade deal,'" and adds, "USTR should cry uncle on this for all time, no matter how much money brand-name drug companies spend on lobbying and political campaigns." Naiman concludes, "If you think you might have an opinion on this at some point, the time to make some noise is now. Later may be too late" (9/10).
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