Obama's Secret TPP Trade Deal Puts Profits Before Public Health


Obama's Secret TPP Trade Deal Puts Profits Before Public Health

Despite very few details being made public, the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal is widely regarded as one of the biggest gifts to corporate America in history.

The deal is Obama's final parting gift to big donors and because of the blatant conflict of interest over the deal it has become the most secretive agreement ever negotiated by a government on behalf of American citizens.

Its so secret even your elected officials don't know the details.

Thankfully WikiLeaks, who has been persistently searching for a copy, published more secret documents from the controversial agreement on Wednesday.

The leaked drafts concern healthcare in the U.S. and show legislation that would play right into the hands of big pharmaceutical companies at the expense of public health.

The specific issue concerns the so-called Healthcare Annex scheme, which regulates state programs for medicines and medical devices. WikiLeaks said "it forces healthcare authorities to give big pharmaceutical companies more information about national decisions on public access to medicine."

Industry professionals and activists in many countries fear it would "empower big pharmaceutical firms to command higher reimbursement rates in the United States and abroad, at the expense of consumers," according to the New York Times. "American negotiators are still pressing participating governments to open the process that sets reimbursement rates for drugs and medical devices," it added.

Pharmaceutical giants, mainly based in the United States, are "protecting profits over public health," WikiLeaks says. Customers in poorer countries look set to suffer even more as neither governments or the local population "can afford to pay rates anywhere close to those charged in the West."

"I think it's a shame that the annex is still being considered at all for the TPP," Deborah Gleeson, of the School of Psychology and Public Health at La Trobe University in Australia told the New York Times, adding it "was very clear to everyone except the U.S." that the proposal is not about transparency, as claimed, but rather over a "decision-making processes around pricing."

The secret negotiations detailed in the document clearly reveal that Australia's Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme would be undermined, pushing up the cost of medicines across the country.

"United States trade negotiators have aggressively pushed for provisions favoring multinational pharmaceutical manufacturers at the expense of national governments and public healthcare systems," the Sydney Morning Herald wrote.

"The Annex will also tie the hands of the U.S. Congress in its ability to pursue reforms of the Medicare program," Wikileaks' expert policy analysis revealed.

The leaked TPP draft reveals "that the pact could expose Medicare to pharmaceutical company attacks and constrain future policy reforms, including the ability of the U.S. government to curb rising and unsustainable drug prices," consumer rights advocacy group Public Citizen said in statement released on Wednesday.

Public Citizen said that president Obama's administration has been "acting at the behest of pharmaceutical companies."

The TPP leak comes as the House votes on whether to give President Obama expanded powers to complete the Trans-Pacific Partnership without democratic oversight. The president already had "fast-track" power "to complete trade deals that cannot be amended or filibustered by Congress" approved by the Senate.

The new powers will remove democratic oversight by giving the president unilateral authority to negotiate wide ranging and legally binding trade deals with other countries that cannot be changed, amended or challenged once they are signed.

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