Recent comments by President Obama with regards to the cost of medicines have been confusing. He made comments about the TPPA and cost of medicines speaking at the Young South East Asean Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) town hall session in Malaysia. So the tune is, new patented drugs must be protected for a certain period and after this period expires, generics must be allowed to flourish.
What is not clear is the terms of such a “protection”? It also means that newer, more efficacious treatment options are not going to be cheap. Biologics, in particular, a class of drugs using a targeted approach to diseases, has been painfully expensive and out of reach for many patients in developing countries.
Much of the negotiations has been conducted in secrecy. This fuels misinformation and confusion. The reporting patterns in the media clearly highlights the uncertainty.
Malaysians have been burnt once when prior to the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), the Government was reassuring everyone initially that there will be no increase in cost of healthcare. Slowly, the reality dawned that this was indeed a myth and a misdirection by the Malaysian government. Link Here
Sacrificing healthcare for greater profits in other areas of trade is a betrayal. With transparency in doubt and corrupt practices unaddressed, there is fear that the average Malaysian will suffer the ultimate consequence of this trade agreement, while those in power enjoy the benefits that this TPPA may bring.
Ultimately, there must be more transparency in TPPA negotiations. With the recent rejection of TPPA by the opposition force, the Government must make greater effort in convincing the public with more concrete information, rather than empty statements, devoid of logic at times.
How does TPP affect the rising costs of medicine?
With the prices of medicine hiking up steadily over the years, Malaysians for the past decade, have been encouraged to start consuming generic medicine under the Generic Medicine Policy (GMP) resulting in healthcare organisations actively introducing the usage of generic medicine.
Generic medicine would be defined as drugs marketed under no particular brand but share the similar chemical component as any ‘original/branded’ drugs and comply with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
However, after much disagreement from other participating countries, America agreed with the undisclosed, minimum number of years instead.
The availability of generic medicine help drugs reach across a wider pool of people in both developing and poverty-stricken countries but if Malaysia were to sign the TPP agreement, we would have to deal with purchasing expensive medicine under the stringent laws of TPP.
That would affect a great number of people in developing countries and might even be the death of many that cannot afford the rising costs of medicine for serious illnesses such as HIV, AIDS, and cancer.
Quoted from Says.com
Medicine prices will increase with TPPA
No increase in medicine prices under TPP, says IDEAS
Health Ministry expects hike in prices of imported medicine
High price of drugs if TPPA signed, many parts not to consumers advantage
Obama admits that protecting the US pharmaceutical industry is important. (note that this is a link via a proxy server due to the blocking of malaysia-chronicle.com website in Malaysia)