Leak Of TPP Health Annex Shows New Zealand's Beloved Pharmac System Under Direct Attack

from the do-as-I-say,-not-as-I-do dept

After a rather quiet period, WikiLeaks seems to be back on form. After the big TISA leak last week, it's released the Healthcare Annex to the Transparency Chapter of TPP. The document itself is short (pdf), and fairly opaque, so WikiLeaks has helpfully provided some expert commentary from Deborah Gleeson (pdf) and Jane Kelsey (pdf), both well-known academics in this field. Here's a key part of Gleeson's summary:

The inclusion of the Healthcare Transparency Annex in the TPP serves no useful public interest purpose. It sets a terrible precedent for using regional trade deals to tamper with other countries' health systems and could circumscribe the options available to developing countries seeking to introduce pharmaceutical coverage programs in future.

The Annex is clearly intended to target New Zealand’s Pharmaceutical Management Agency (PHARMAC) and some of its provisions will result in new obligations for PHARMAC that will involve transaction costs and could impinge on its flexibility and autonomy. This is particularly worrying given that PHARMAC provides a model pharmaceutical coverage program that is suitable for adoption by developing countries.
Pharmac is New Zealand's system for buying medicines in bulk, which results in substantial savings for the country -- around $3.5 billion since 2000. US drug companies hate it for two reasons: it is able to negotiate lower prices in New Zealand by consolidating purchases for the whole country; and it represents a dangerously successful model that other countries might adopt. The latest leak is important because it confirms that Big Pharma is using TPP not only to strengthen drug patents, but also to attack Pharmac directly.

It has long been a fear that TPP would seek to undermine it, something that the New Zealand government has strenuously denied. The latest clear evidence that Pharmac is indeed under threat has forced the country's prime minister, John Key, to respond, reported here by the New Zealand Herald:

Prime Minister John Key has promised that New Zealanders will continue to pay no more than $5 [US$3] for subsidised prescriptions, whatever happens to Pharmac under the Trans Pacific Partnership.
Jane Kelsey is quoted in the new story as noting that there were only four possibilities:
the Government could increase the health budget overall; the health budget could remain the same but more funding go from non-Pharmac costs to Pharmac; the price the public paid for prescriptions could rise -- which Mr Key ruled out today; and the fourth was that fewer medicines were bought by Pharmac.
Any of the other options means higher taxes in New Zealand or cuts somewhere else to pay for the more expensive drugs TPP is almost certain to bring. That fact has led to a spate of articles in the New Zealand press, and a wider awareness about the negative consequences of the hitherto obscure TPP, albeit rather late in the day.

As a side note, it's worth noting one other interesting aspect, pointed out by Kelsey in her detailed analysis of the latest leak:

The Annex applies very specifically to a 'national health care program' that makes recommendations/decisions about listing pharmaceutical products or medical devices for reimbursement, or the sum of that reimbursement, where these programmes are run by a 'national health care authority'.

The Annex does not apply to direct government procurement of pharmaceuticals and medical devices.

'National' is presumably chosen to preclude such programmes that are run by states and provinces, which are politically sensitive in the US and Canada. In effect, the US has excluded almost all its own programmes, while targeting New Zealand

Clever, no?

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  • identicon
    JC Carter, 12 Jun 2015 @ 12:52am

    Well

    Don Keys 5$ prescription charge is a red herring. Pharmac will still be gutted, and the additional charges to prop up foreign IP and pathetic pharma liers will be achieved by:

    1) NZ tax dollars increasing payments on medicines
    2) NZ tax dollars set at a certain level so naturally reducing availability
    3) like all of his other lies, this will end with higher prescription charge and the 1 or 2 also increase.

    NEver mind large component of our population do not get this subsidised price, so we get fked over three ways from Sunday.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 12 Jun 2015 @ 1:30am

    No wonder TPP talks are secret

    They rely on limited scrutiny in order to pull opponents as far as possible over the table.

    Can you find all easter eggs in time? Actually, some saying of Linus Torvalds seems to apply here pretty well: given enough eyes, all bugs are shallow.

    While we are not talking bugs here but rather maliciously inserted exploit vectors, the principle seems to apply still, possibly even more so.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Anonymous Howard (profile), 12 Jun 2015 @ 6:30am

      Re: No wonder TPP talks are secret

      I'd say "NO" to any agreement concluded in secret, no matter what it contains, on the principle that it were done undemocratically.
      Pure and simple.

      Because politicians can explain and promise all they want, there is no good reason for a trade agreement to be done in secret. None.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 12 Jun 2015 @ 1:51am

    International Big Pharma HATES Pharmac

    Pharmac keeps healthcare costs down for New Zealanders, and it does too good a job of that for the likings of big international drug companies. They keep trying to bring it down, and it’s something we need to keep a careful eye on and guard jealously. Because there is no shortage of politicians and bureaucrats in power willing to give in to lobbyists and international treaty negotiators and grant their wish.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2015 @ 2:29am

    Oh boy, Whatever's not going to like this.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2015 @ 2:55am

    I really don't understand this. Why don't all the countries that TPP is designed to fuck just refuse to sign it?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2015 @ 3:44am

      Re:

      Because people all over the world have zero control of their countries only the wealthy are afforded those liberties.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 12 Jun 2015 @ 7:04am

      Re:

      Because it is not the countries who sign it but the negotiators. Since they are acting on behalf of millions of people, making them benefit in return for the damage they are causing to their constituents is comparatively cheap.

      Apart from personal favors tendered, things that benefit a small enough percentile of which they are a member are still quite affordable.

      Since they are usually in high-level corporate standing, anything that leads to corporations screwing over people will be to their own personal advantage.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2015 @ 3:56am

    World wide scam

    This is really an international clusterfuck. The only winners are top earning 1/10 of 1% that wrote this agreement and bought the politicians. Now the thieves want to convince us to buy in to the big lie.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Pragmatic, 15 Jun 2015 @ 2:34am

      Re: World wide scam

      It's called "neoliberalism." Fear it: the lie is seductive and promises much, based on the myth of the free market.

      But we all know there's no such thing as the free market, right?

      And that the myth of the free market is a joke perpetrated on us by people who don't actually want the market to be free?

      They use partisan games to divide us, don't fall for it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2015 @ 6:36am

    When the TPP passes

    just remember we will deserve it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2015 @ 7:20am

    and being as thick as f**k while not giving a toss, the NZ politicians will let this go sailing through, while the people who will definitely be affected wont/cant even offer opinions!

    it's not very nice when people decide that another group of people who will be affected over something being implemented, but those people are not allowed to even be made aware of it, let alone have a say! what would those making these decisions say if the situation were reversed? kick up all sorts of hell, i would think!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2015 @ 12:44pm

    Isn't Australia's PBS (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme) in the same boat?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2015 @ 1:39pm

      Re:

      That's an "on water" matter & subject to National Security provisions & all the secrecy it entails.

      Just like the current people smugglers issue, the government will pay more for the same result.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David E.H. Smith, 12 Jun 2015 @ 11:09pm

    What are you going to do about the TPP, TTIP, CETA & Global Treaties/'Arrangements’.

    So, what do you want, preferably someone else, to do about it?
    Can you ask the right person, who does know the answers, the right questions? What are the right questions?
    ***
    TPP, TTIP, CETA & Global Treaties/'Arrangements’.
    Is the secrecy surrounding the TPP & the flurry of Global Treaties/'Arrangements' greater, or, less than the secrecy at the time of The Residential Schools abuses & ‘Cultural Genocide’; Corporate Canada & The Canadian Establishment Still Resolute & Without any Remorse? As Pres. G.H. Bush said in the Aftermath of the NAFTA ‘dispute resolution’; ‘Well, you should have known…’

    Should Congressmen & Parliamentarians Have to Sully Their ‘Beliefs’ & Sales Pitches with ‘Sordid’ Facts that Come from Actually Reading & Understanding Global Treaties/’Arrangements’? Should They be able to ‘Sully’ Others, or, Should They Only be able to Give Us the Facts so ‘We’ The People can Draw our Own Conclusions?
    2 Republican Senators Admit that They Have read the TPP.
    No Canadian Admissions.
    Congress; Deluded, or, Deluding; 'IGNORAMUS et IGNORABIMUS' (I do not know & I will Not Know)?


    Corporations Cut Costs & Dramatically Increase flat Profits by Not Suing each Other & by Suing the Little Guy (via ‘your’ Gov’t.) who’s ‘Guilty’ even Prior to Tribunals & All of the Time.

    Teaching the Gordon Gekkos’ of Wall St., Congress, et al, some Humility & Integrity via Quantifying?
    ‘Obama’s’ (Corporate America’s) Self-Exploding SECRECY.

    If Not 'Treason', then, there are very compelling arguments for concluding that the corporations, whether they be, foreign, domestic, &/or, a blend, that do not respect the 'lesser' jurisdictions, ie. individual provinces, territories, &/or, states, or, municipalities, are not good corporate citizens of the host countries & thus, can be treated as 'persona non grata'.

    Global Treaties/’Arrangements’ with their Secret ‘Death-Star-Chamber’ Tribunals that The Global (non BRICS) Corporate Economy is in the Process of Secretly Passing will Finally Legitimize its Ability to secretly move money around, ie. ‘launder’ without Fear of Legal/government Regulation. It’s their Own Jurisdiction & they Insist that you Pay for & Not them.

    Will TPP be Okay if ‘US’ corporations can Prove that they Won't Benefit from Partnerships that Try to Disguise that Corporate USA is Circumventing Other ‘Lesser’ Jurisdictions (State/Municipal)?
    ie. Corporations Need Proof of Non Circumvention of 'Lesser' Jurisdictions, or else, 'Non Good Corporate Citizens', &/or, 'Persona Non Grata'

    What is Governors’ Rationale for not Defending Taxpayers; States Colluding with Feds?

    Corporate America’s Last Chance to Legitimize their Fleecing the Little Guy (95% - 99% of U.S.) Before Tanking the Global (non BRICS) Economy? Exploitable ‘Vulnerabilities’, Holes & Back Doors to Close.

    Are TPP & Global Corporate Treaties/’Arrangements more about Tort ‘Abolishment’ than Tort ‘Reform’?

    2 Republican Senators Admit that They Have read the TPP.
    Should Congressmen & Parliamentarians Have to Sully Their ‘Beliefs’ & Sales Pitches with
    ‘Sordid’ Facts that Come from Actually Reading & Understanding Global Treaties/’Arrangements’?
    Congress; Deluded, or, Deluding; 'IGNORAMUS et IGNORABIMUS' (I do not know & I will Not Know)?

    Can ‘your’ Federal Representatives Willingly Answer ‘your’ Questions below If They haven’t Read the TPP & other Global Treaties? All You have to do is Ask them ‘For Your Record’ & then Share Their Inability with Others.
    Don’t Forget to Demand Your Money Back for ‘Supplementing’ Fed Rep’s Wages & Future Considerations at Incompetency Tribunals.
    How many ‘Preferred’ Shares are You Selling Your Right to Sue The Global Corporate Economy for?

    TPP, TTIP, CETA & Global Treaties;
    Corp.’ U.S.’ Need to Fast Track TPP & Global Treaties.
    TPP & Global Treaties part of corp. US's attempt to Increase $17+ Trillion
    Debt 'Earning$' & to Legitimize Hidden Earning$ in Untouchable Foreign Banks.
    Time to REPATRIATE 'Earnings'; NO FOREIGN Accountants, Banks, Services, etc.
    NO Trickle Down from Hiding ‘Earnings’ in Secret Off-Shore Accounts.

    Global Treaties Not about How Much Trade, but, How to & Who to Trade with to 'Undermine' AIIB.
    Shifting Costs to harmless Non Shareholders to Inflate ‘Profits & Dividends’.
    Is it Time to Cool off the 'Stockbrokers' again; Buy Gold?
    'Schadenfreude' & the Public; Too 'Unenlightened' to Figure out 'The Global Sleight of Mind' Illusion.
    - David 'Copper' Smith

    Will Individual States Jump at Opportunity to: Refuse, or, 'Over Charge' Business Licenses, Raise Targeting State Taxes, 'Road' Taxes, etc. to Recoup Global Treaties' Suits (plus Earn Lucrative 'Punitive Damages') from Non Good Corporate Citizens (non-Compliant of State laws), Associated/Support Corps., Securities Exchanges, et al?

    But, Do YOU know the various different ways to Make the leaders of TPP, Shareholders, et al, 'Persona non Grata'; Shareholders' Meetings I.D. Toxic Neighbors, In-laws, et al?

    Corporate Canada’s, via PM Harper, Perilous Deprivation of TPP, C-CIT, CETA, et al, Signatories of Due Diligence Info (The WAD Accord/Compensation), May Hurt Corp.Can & Shareholders More than the Rest (95% - 99%) of citizens of Canada, US, EU, Trans Pacific nations, or, may not…

    But, If Not PUTIN; 'The WHITE KNIGHT', then Who Do YOU Want to Bankroll the Saving of the harmless NON shareholders of the World from Fast Tracking TPP's, CETA's (TTIP) Secret 'Death-Star-Chamber' Tribunal Penalties?
    Will Iran, China, the Muslim World, et al, Support Putin in Suits?
    How about Warren Buffett, &/or, the 'coveted' Hong Kong investor, et al?
    ***
    FULL Articles, see; davidehsmith.wordpress.com
    ***
    Please consider sharing the enclosed information & questions with 10 friends who will share it with 10 others...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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