April 12, 2016 | By: Catherine Ho
More than 50 public health, religious and labor groups — including Doctors Without Borders, the Catholic lobby group Network and the Communications Workers of America — are urging Congress to reject the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the 12-nation free trade agreement between the United States and Pacific Rim nations.
In a letter sent to Congress on Tuesday, the groups argue that the intellectual property and pharmaceutical provisions in the pact would make it more difficult for people in TPP countries to access affordable medicine. Among their concerns are that TPP grants several years of exclusivity to pharmaceutical makers for certain drugs that would delay the availability of generics.
“In the U.S., the TPP is a danger to public health and fiscal responsibility because it would lock in policies that keep prices of too many medicines unaffordably high,” says the letter, which is also signed by AIDS and HIV prevention and advocacy groups, Oxfam America, National Nurses United and National Physicians Alliance.
The move comes a day after 225 agriculture, farm and food groups sent their own letter to Congressional leaders, urging them to approve TPP. In the letter, dated Monday, they applaud TPP’s removal of many tariffs that allows them to better compete in the Asia market.
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