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Trans-Pacific Partnership Could Affect HIV/AIDS Drug Prices, Huffington Post Reports

The Huffington Post, as part of a collaboration on trade issues with the Dylan Ratigan Show, examines how “a new trade deal the Obama administration is pushing to complete with Vietnam and seven other Pacific nations threatens to seriously hinder both U.S. and international efforts to combat AIDS — including the government’s own efforts in Vietnam.” Under the Trans-Pacific Partnership, “U.S. negotiators are seeking to impose a set of restrictive intellectual property laws that would help American drug companies secure long-term monopolies overseas,” according to leaked documents, the Huffington Post writes.

A spokesperson from the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), “who requested anonymity, says the agency needs restrictive patent standards in order to ‘incentivize’ drug companies to supply medicine,” but “plenty of economic data suggest that the American patent regime does not foster useful medical innovation,” according to the news service. “Over the last 10 years, millions of people have received live-saving AIDS drugs because patents have expired. But if USTR succeeds in establishing new, more restrictive patent standards, that trend could stop, hindering efforts to close the still formidable global HIV treatment gap,” the Huffington Post concludes (Carter, 10/5).