Pharma Cos Vs. The Common Man: Whom Will the TPP Pact Choose?

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It was only recently that the world hailed India’s decision against granting a cancer drug patent to medico giant Novartis, ensuring that cost-effective medication is available to the masses. Following suit, several nations have shammed some portions of the trade agreement IPR text mentioned in the Trans-Pacific agreement, says a new Wikileaks report. Now, can patenting be a bane is a question that comes to the fore.

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It’s surprising that the Obama government is turning a deaf ear to widespread disagreement among the 12 negotiating countries over some of the IP rules, and is instead pressing to seal the agreement by the year end. The Wikileaks revelation shows that the deal, which is being negotiated between 12 countries leading more than one-third of the world’s economy, has the US making allowances for several medical companies to seek patents. If this comes through, then the fate of the common man could hang in limbo, pushing generic drugs to cost a fortune.

The US, in conjunction with Japan, is said to argue that denying patents could reduce efficacy of medical products. The document has noted that the Obama administration plans to create more job opportunities through enhanced exports – something that it hopes to achieve by sealing this agreement.

However, the Obama administration is facing flak from all quarters, including in the home front, for what Peter Maybarduk, director of Public Citizen’s global access to medicines program, termed as “shameful bullying on behalf of giant pharmaceutical companies”. It shall be interesting to see if this leak helps correct what could otherwise result in costly medication.

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