Patients and Patents's blog

Access to Medicines: Patients’ Perspectives

Guest blog by Durhane Wong-Rieger, PhD -- Chair of the International Alliance of Patients' Organizations.

For patients around the world maintaining an economic and social environment in which innovation can thrive while, at the same time, enhancing affordable access to better preventive and curative care are key issues. Patients have an important role to play in guiding and supporting innovation with special reference to intellectual property development IP and world health improvement.

Wealth, Health and International Trade

Last year, Matrix Insights published a report by Dr. Kanavos (LSE Health), Professor David Taylor (The School of Pharmacy, University of London) and others on the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement and it's potential impact on enhancing trade and continuing health and development.

The report concluded that "Providing the pharmaceutical industry the IP protection it requires to invest in improved health outcomes must sit alongside sustainable programs to address sub-standard medicines, assured means to exceptional health challenges, and a structured approach to availability of low-cost mature off-patent treatments. The TPP provides an excellent opportunity to lead in the establishment of the next generation of FTAs, which seek to meet each of these goals and, in doing so, fully aligning global free trade with global responsibility."

In the lead-up to the 16th round of negotiations, I thought these issues were worth being raised again.

Well Crafted Trade Agreements Are An Economic Growth Lubricant

"Every time the U.S. negotiates a new trade deal, it seems that there is an enormous amount of misinformation generated by all sides of the debate in an attempt to frame the issue in the narrowest terms, portraying it as either a panacea or the end of the world.

The fact of the matter is that trade is a complex and nuanced issue that can’t readily be broken down into sound bites. No side gets everything it puts on the table, and tradeoffs must be made depending on priorities: give a little in one area to get back something of value in another. With the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement currently being negotiated between the United States and about a dozen Asia-Pacific nations, it’s no different. The countries currently in TPP negotiations comprise the 4th-largest export market for U.S. firms, and the broader Asia Pacific region accounts for more than 40 percent of global trade, so it’s critical that we get the best deal possible."

Free trade: promoting economic growth & public health

By Phillip Stevens, Executive Director of the Emerging Markets Health Network

In order to bring some evidence to this debate about free trade and health, Emerging Markets Health Network undertook an econometric study analysing the relationship between trade openness and health indicators such as infant mortality rates and life expectancy. The implications of our study are clear: policymakers – particularly those from low-income countries – should continue to pursue trade liberalisation in order to improve the welfare of their citizens.

America's TPP Touchstone: To grow, innovate. To innovate, protect intellectual property rights.

Every country's competitiveness and economic well-being ultimately depends on its companies' ability to innovate. So governments' trade policies should help companies to successfully realize returns on their innovative capabilities so that they have the incentive to continue developing the new products that will improve consumer welfare and deliver rising wages and living standards.

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