Source: The New York Times
To the Editor:
Michael R. Bloomberg’s apt criticism of Obama administration trade policy, which could contribute to tobacco-related deaths throughout the Asia-Pacific region, is only part of the story (“Why Is Obama Caving on Tobacco?,” Op-Ed, Aug. 23).
Administration policy would also force the region, including poor countries like Vietnam, Malaysia and Peru, to transform laws so as to provide special expansive monopoly protections for pharmaceuticals, while placing serious limits on countries’ programs analogous to Medicare and Medicaid.
This would give a green light to abuse of the patent system, keeping medicine prices higher for longer and leading to preventable suffering and death.
These demands, made on behalf of the pharmaceutical industry, are the most aggressive and dangerous we have seen in any trade agreement. They reverse even the modest health safeguards negotiated under the George W. Bush administration, and they undermine United States foreign aid and global health policy.
The Obama administration must be stopped from forcing a hemispheric agreement against public health.
New York, Aug. 26, 2013