Leaked TPP Chapter Shows How It's A Massive Gift To Big Pharma And Against Public Health

from the but,-fast-track's-in-place,-so-too-bad,-suckers dept

Over the last few years, we've seen leaks here and there of the various chapters of the TPP agreement, but generally ones that are quite out of date. The latest public leak of the "intellectual property" chapter that I'm aware of was done last October by Wikileaks and was the version from the previous May (2014). Now, Politico claims that someone has leaked the May 2015 version, though Politico has not published the document (which, frankly, is pretty lame for a journalism property). But, based on Politico's report, the agreement still looks to be what everyone's been saying it would be: a huge gift to giant corporate special interests, such as Big Pharma:
The draft text includes provisions that could make it extremely tough for generics to challenge brand-name pharmaceuticals abroad. Those provisions could also help block copycats from selling cheaper versions of the expensive cutting-edge drugs known as “biologics” inside the U.S., restricting treatment for American patients while jacking up Medicare and Medicaid costs for American taxpayers. “There’s very little distance between what Pharma wants and what the U.S. is demanding,” said Rohat Malpini, director of policy for Doctors Without Borders.
In response, the USTR falls back on its standard lame reply, about how draft texts are not "final." But this is why it's actually important to post these draft texts publicly, because what the draft Politico saw appears to show is that, whether or not it gets it, the USTR is fighting for policies that would harm poor, sick people, and massively benefit giant pharmaceutical conglomerates.
The highly technical 90-page document, cluttered with objections from other TPP nations, shows that U.S. negotiators have fought aggressively and, at least until Guam, successfully on behalf of Big Pharma.
That bit of information seems rather important in determining whose interests the USTR is truly representing in these negotiations. Remember, that while the final agreement will be posted publicly, the negotiating texts (which show what each side argued for) are being kept secret for four years after ratification -- by which point the staff at the USTR will likely have turned over greatly, and whoever is there now can pretend they had nothing to do with the negotiating positions that the US is now locked into.

And, of course, now that fast track is the law, Congress can't even step in to fix it. They'll only be allowed an up/down vote on the entire agreement -- with tremendous pressure on them to approve the whole thing, even if there are dangerous provisions mixed in the overall agreement.

Of course, we all know that this is why the agreement is secret. It's not politically feasible for the US government to publicly show that it's fighting against the health interests of the public and in favor of pharma profits. But it appears that's exactly what's happening behind closed doors. And that seems... wrong.

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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 2 Jul 2015 @ 1:51pm

    Moot point

    In response, the USTR falls back on its standard lame reply, about how draft texts are not "final."

    Whether they get want they are demanding or not in the 'final' version, the fact remains that the positions listed are the ones they are arguing for.

    As a hypothetical, if someone is arguing in favor of burning down every third house in a town to 'stimulate the economy by increasing demand for home builders and the purchase of home furnishings', even if the idea is shot down as being completely insane, that was the position they were in favor of. That the idea was ultimately rejected does not stop this from being the case, so it doesn't matter if the texts aren't final, they are still the positions being argued by the various parties, and an indication of what they are in favor of.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Jul 2015 @ 3:25pm

    "And that seems... wrong"

    That's quite an understatment.

    This is a subversion of the entire democratic process.
    Treasonous would be the word that comes to my mind- though it probably can't meet that technical definition.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Jul 2015 @ 4:42am

      Re:

      This is a subversion of the entire democratic process.

      That would be relevant if the US was a democracy but the US is a republic where we elect representatives to do things like make laws and negotiate treaties. Nothing in the process requires representatives to run anything by the general population before acting.

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

      • icon
        Derek Kerton (profile), 3 Jul 2015 @ 12:07pm

        Re: Re:

        "where we elect representatives to do things like make laws and negotiate treaties. Nothing in the process requires representatives to run anything by the general population before acting."

        Do you understand that this is ALSO how things work in democratic nations like the UK or Canada, right? They also have Representative Democracies. You seem to think that the US is unique in that, and that all others have Direct Democracy, which they don't (although California comes close with their Prop system.)

        The USA is a republic, and follows a democratic process of government.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy#Republic

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

  • icon
    crade (profile), 2 Jul 2015 @ 3:29pm

    "by which point the staff at the USTR will likely have turned over greatly .. " (And now working at their cushy reward jobs in Big Pharma)

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Jul 2015 @ 3:39pm

    i've got to ask, why is it that every other nation has no say in what is going to happen, or at least seems to have no say? the only nation we hear about in the leaks is the USA. so, can someone tell me then why everywhere else seems to be so scared of the fucking yanks? it's about time they were told to shove ALL their friggin' Trade Deals (using the term extremely loosely!) where the sun dont shine!! what needs to be remembered is that the USA is NOT the most important nation on the planet and it's people will want to know why they have been screwed, as well as the people everywhere else! i can see real trouble coming before long and the USA is going to deserve every bit it gets!!

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Jul 2015 @ 4:02pm

      Re:

      In New Zealand there was talk years ago that we were in line for a Free Trade deal with the US, that -given our history with the US at the time (no-nukes) - was sold to us as a big deal. Fast forward some years and here we are a minnow at a global table, being given no say in what the deal entails.
      In terms of copyright and big pharma NZ probably has the most to lose.
      We've got fair use, life + 50, DRM bypassing, No copyright on software, format shifting, and it's legal to download copyrighted material from a single source (e.g. Youtube, Mega) only torrenting is illegal (though unenforced as hollywood won't pay $25 for each notice).

      Unfortunately the politicians at the negotiating table claim that those who oppose the TPP have no voice, our protests mean nothing because we can't know or understand what it all means. It's patronising in the extreme.

      It also sucks to read about it here as a solely American problem, it's not. The US is going to get everything it wants in this deal. NZ will only lose.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 2 Jul 2015 @ 6:21pm

        Re: Re:

        Don't forget Pharmac might get shafted too. Too useful.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 2 Jul 2015 @ 6:42pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Pharmac WILL get shafted. It was written about here a few weeks ago, there's a leak of a section devoted to pharmac. The last thing big Pharma wants is 4 million people on subsidised medicine..

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 2 Jul 2015 @ 10:25pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "...the last thing big Pharma wants is 4 million people on subsidised medicine..."

            Are you sure since 4 million people on subsidised medicine equals 4 million blank checks written to big Pharma. I'd say that's exactly what Pharma does want.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 2 Jul 2015 @ 10:38pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Except that Pharmac cuts deals for buying in bulk, and buys lots of generics.

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

            • icon
              Derek Kerton (profile), 3 Jul 2015 @ 12:14pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Single buyer health care nations have far lower costs, because the "consumers" negotiate for the product in unity. One big entity (say Pharmac) against another big entity (say Merck).

              In the great ole USA, each pharma company negotiates price as a monopoly provider with a take-it-or-leave-it price, one customer at at time. Often that customer's health is on the line, so they're not particularly powerful at the negotiating table...which is in fact not a table, but a price sticker they can pay or die. Our "free market" actually creates a very tilted power imbalance, and leaves a very distorted market.

              The US model is where the customer is forced to hand over a blank check. The NZ model is where the customer gets a chair at a negotiation table.

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

      • icon
        jane (profile), 3 Jul 2015 @ 8:00am

        Re: Re:

        you just need to convince your government that it needs to drop out and hopefully once that happens everyone else will too. the U.S can have a 'trade agreement' with itself lol.

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

    • icon
      crade (profile), 2 Jul 2015 @ 4:12pm

      Re:

      The U.S. has the most guns.
      If our gov't disagrees with the U.S., they aren't "democratic" and they get replaced.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Jul 2015 @ 4:37pm

      Re:

      USA is a bully with massive firepower.

      Countries can either stand up to them and be utterly destroyed.

      They can submit and be economically destroyed.

      Or (which most countries seem to be doing) they can collaborate with the USA to destroy their citizens rights, and give them whatever they demand.

      Libya would be a good example of standing up to the bully. One day Obama just has bombers go and send their cities back to the stone age. No declaration of war, just oh we don't like what your doing so die.

      Can't have them go off the dollar and set a bad example to the rest of the world.

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

      • identicon
        AI, 4 Jul 2015 @ 2:52am

        Re: Re:

        The U.S. might be strong against the smaller Asian countries like Malaysia, Vietnam, Japan, and Singapore, (all part of TPP) but they will have a harder stance against larger countries like China, India, and Russia (especially China, which are NOT part of TPP. China and India have far more people than the US and these countries are rapidly improving, closing the lead the US has in terms of technology.

        US was able to scare everyone into thinking that China's influence could ruin the world's economy which is part of the reason why politicians approved the Fast Track.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Jul 2015 @ 4:43pm

      Re:

      Remember the malaria thing? Well one company had drug that could help. That was the only company world wide that had such a patent and it was outside the US. Guess what happened when the US needed the drug?
      Right! They said the patent doesn't count and produced the drug on their own.

      Also like someone else said:

      http://www.globalfirepower.com/defense-spending-budget.asp

      You do not mess with someone who lets their own people starve to death, cuts spending on schools but spends more than the next 10 countries combined on military. The last time people tried to mess with them for global domination was about 70 years ago and they got hit by 2 nukes ( the only 2 nukes used against humans)

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

    • icon
      Paraquat (profile), 2 Jul 2015 @ 8:15pm

      because America

      I live in Taiwan. Our current president has been down on his hands and knees begging the USA to let Taiwan sign up for the TPP. We have a presidential election early next year - the candidates for the party that is currently leading in the polls (the DPP) is also begging to join the TPP. The likely nominee for the other major party (the KMT) has said nothing - I suspect she's cool to the idea, but she is also less likely to win because of her pro-China ideology.

      Taiwan is not even a party to the current TPP negotiations. It's also unlikely we'll be admitted because China would object. It is largely due to China's objections that the DPP wants to join to TPP (sorry for all these acronyms - the DPP is the Democratic Progressive Party). The KMT (Kuomintang) leans towards China, but the current president will bend over and spread for the USA anytime, which is why he wants to join the TPP.

      Why does Taiwan want to sign up for the TPP without even knowing what it says? Because the TPP is from America, the land of the free, home of the brave, home of Hollywood and Disneyland, etc. So the TPP must be good. After all, if you can't trust the USA, who can you trust?

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 3 Jul 2015 @ 8:54am

        Re: because America

        Certainly not your politicians from the sounds of it.

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

      • icon
        tqk (profile), 4 Jul 2015 @ 10:14pm

        Re: because America

        Interesting read, thanks, but:
        Why does Taiwan want to sign up for the TPP without even knowing what it says? Because the TPP is from America, the land of the free, home of the brave, home of Hollywood and Disneyland, etc.

        So, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Korea, Vietnam, ... have been forgotten?

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

    • icon
      tracyanne (profile), 2 Jul 2015 @ 11:13pm

      Re: the only nation we hear about in the leaks is the USA

      At the moment, I'm almost inclined to say I don't give two fucks how this affects America, except that it's probably going to affect Australian taxpayers even more, so I have to care what the TPP is going to do to the US, because it will screw over every other Pacific Rim country, just as bad, or worse.

      I guess those of us who aren't Yanks, are getting a little over the US centricity of TPP reporting.

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

    • icon
      Village Idiot (profile), 3 Jul 2015 @ 5:08pm

      Re:

      You know one of the worst parts?
      It's that the U.S. is an extremely important country in certain ways and this importance lends it inappropriate weight in the international community.
      A large reason it has this importance is because the U.S. is a massive consumer country. We buy relatively more shit than anyone else. So the bitter and dark irony(?) of the situation is that our government is using our own purchasing power to effectively erode our rights.
      If we truly had control of Congress, TPP would never become law. These modern "trade agreements" are a literal collusion of government bodies with corporate/business interests against their citizens and constituents.

      TPP is and will be a massive failure of the American democratic process. Probably more of an indicator of how much of it has largely been illusory.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Jul 2015 @ 3:56pm

    an upsurge in emigration out of the states then

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

  • identicon
    J.R., 2 Jul 2015 @ 4:40pm

    TPP etc

    If one didn't know better, one might conclude that the USTR, the Prez, and the U.S. Congress were on corporate payrolls ... lots of corporate payrolls. /sarcasm

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

    • identicon
      David, 2 Jul 2015 @ 11:30pm

      Re: TPP etc

      Corporations are people and thus they deserve to vote. Without a birth certificate, they don't get to use regular ballots but they are free to stuff the ballot boxes with green ballots authorized by the U.S. treasurer.

      And stuffing the ballot boxes is what they do.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Jul 2015 @ 4:51pm

    "Final" solution:

    History isn't kind to such things.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Jul 2015 @ 5:22pm

    Just proves......

    Just proves that our politicians have brains and balls the size of poppy seeds and morals of turnips

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

    • identicon
      David, 3 Jul 2015 @ 1:50am

      Re: Just proves......

      More like "morals of poppies" too. As opposed to turnips, poppies are fine with killing humans as a byproduct of securing their proliferation.

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

  • identicon
    WaitWot, 2 Jul 2015 @ 7:56pm

    Democracy lost

    Broken "democracy" in action.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Jul 2015 @ 10:50am

    Workarounds?

    I'm with tracyanne on this. We're going to be royally screwed by this agreement. I'm wondering if anyone's thinking up workarounds to avoid actually complying with this treaty. If the Yanks are going to screw us then we should return the favour in spades.

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

  • icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), 3 Jul 2015 @ 11:59am

    Momentum

    I'm just going to address one claim of the USTR:

    "draft texts are not "final."

    My response: No, perhaps not, but they're a lot closer to the final text than whatever output would have been typed by a thousand monkeys. Drafts are not "random", and statistically have significant correlation to the final.

    Most of you have probably been at workplace meetings where the need for some document, contract, guideline, marketing copy, or whatever is needed. The question comes up as to who will accept the task of writing it. Most people back away, not wanting the work. I learned long ago in business to volunteer myself or someone on my team to take the "first pass" at every document. I learned that there is huge power in doing so.

    Your needs, your points of view, your strategies, your political imperatives can, thus, all be part of the original document.

    It doesn't matter how many edits follow. Even if people don't agree with your imperatives, what usually happens, at worst for me, is a "toning down" of my wording. My initiatives still remain part of the document.

    I've seen documents and policies from places I've worked at 15 years ago STILL forming the basis of current documentation. There is tremendous MOMENTUM in words. Those that write them have grabbed the power.

    In the case of the TPP, it's big pharma, Hollywood, and other corporate interests that wrote the document. The impact of their power grab will harm the rest of us for decades if TPP passes. Killing the document is the only way to fix it.

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

    • icon
      Derek Kerton (profile), 3 Jul 2015 @ 12:29pm

      Re: Momentum

      Summary: The pen is mightier than the sword. But the USTR has kept the sword, and given the pen to their pals in big business. What's left for us?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Jul 2015 @ 4:36pm

    Australia's Pollie Pedal

    Here in Australia the politicians have an annual bicycle ride called "Pollie Pedal" which is part sponsored by big pharma. So no guessing which side the pollies are on then.

    I shouldn't mention the expenses claimed by a few of the leading cabinet ministers & even the PM in participating in this charity fundraiser. Apparently they were also reaching out to the electorate whilst riding around on their bikes so needed to claim living away from home allowances & travel costs. Rather convenient that!

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

  • icon
    upcoming (profile), 3 Jul 2015 @ 4:55pm

    Stop acting even remotely surprised.

    Where are the consumer advocates at the negotiating table? The climatologists? The worker's reps? When it's only corporations at the table that is who the deals are going to be for. If you aren't the .01%, you have no say at all. How many times to you need to hear the joke to get the punchline? OBVIOUSLY everything about it will be bad for the 99.99%

    The only positive possibilities now are the deal doesn't happen because other countries object, or congress rejects the deal altogether. Congress has already been paid for so that is not an option. The only hope is Other Countries understand this is bad for their sovereignty and people, get fed up with assrape by the US, and don't get to a deal.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Jul 2015 @ 5:46pm

    Re:Re:Re

    #24 & #31

    Maybe I said something boneheaded and still I'm not sure what it was- even after some wikipedia reading. I"m not very good with politics.

    The core of what I was trying to say is that there's long been a standard means by which laws are suggested, refined, put to vote, ratified or not, and then enforced, and judged.

    -All part of the "democratic process" which is a phrase I've heard many times despite that this is a republic- am I using the phrase wrong or out of context somehow?

    These trade deal process's seam to take a big steaming dump on the face of that entire concept of how things are supposed to work. So that's what I meant by subverting the democratic process. Also- corporate sovereignty subverts the democratic process (or whatever the foreign countries process is) in an entirely different way.

    I know these are not standard laws, but they will effect standard laws, not just of our country. It's shocking that something like this can be done so far outside of otherwise standard practice, where all representatives have some input and their constituents are given notice and opertunity for feedback. It seams incredibly foul and corrupt- a sort of loophole to pass whatever they want right under everyones nose.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Jul 2015 @ 6:44pm

    Does this mean I won't have to travel to Canada to get my medications in the near future?

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

  • identicon
    Rekrul, 4 Jul 2015 @ 12:30am

    I've signed various petitions online against stuff like this and as a result I keep ending up on assorted mailing lists. Somehow I got on John McCain's mailing list and a couple days ago I was sent an update where he was practically gushing about how Fast Track was a huge win for Arizona and how letting the president pass trade deals unhindered would create jobs and really help America. I went to his web site and called him an idiot.

    https://outreach.senate.gov/iqextranet/view_newsletter.aspx?id=100733&c=quorum_mccain-iq

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

  • icon
    tqk (profile), 4 Jul 2015 @ 9:52pm

    USTR

    It's not politically feasible for the US government to publicly show that it's fighting against the health interests of the public and in favor of pharma profits.

    I cannot understand why this travesty of a system (USTR) is allowed to continue to exist. It's corporate bribery's access to your tax dollars, your elected representatives, and your justice system.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 4 Jul 2015 @ 11:02pm

      Re: USTR

      Because the ones who could shut them down, or investigate and potentially prosecute them, all in on the scam. Why would you shut down a revolving door agency when you might end up 'working' there yourself down the road?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jul 2015 @ 5:17am

    In the past it would be cost prohibitive to produce and, especially, research new drugs, like say... α-β-nonexisthase that cures bullshititis.

    Since progress in technology has made drug research (things like protein unfolding/sequencing) cheaper the only recourse Traditional (100+ year old) Big Pharma feels it has is legal bludgeoning.

    Let's hope they don't come up with "DRM virii", injected every 10 years, that harm you use generic drugs.

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


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