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TPP Will Not Hinder Access To Essential Medicines, U.S. Commerce Secretary Says

“A wide-ranging Asia-Pacific free trade agreement will not hinder access to affordable medication, the U.S. commerce secretary said on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit that concluded on October 8 in Bali, Indonesia,” IRIN reports. “But activists remain concerned after the closed-door trade talks concluded among” the countries involved in talks surrounding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the news service notes. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) “says U.S. proposals in the TPP negotiations create ways for multinational pharmaceutical companies to extend their patents on medicines through a common pharmaceutical industry practice known as ‘evergreening’ — which would guarantee these companies’ continued stranglehold on the market,” IRIN writes.

According to the news service, U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker said, “Obviously the United States wants the world population to have access to good medicines, so we’re not trying to stand in the way of that.” “Intellectual property is one of several areas TPP countries are still debating,” the news service notes, adding, “Negotiators are expected to meet in November to address remaining contentious issues” (10/9).