There will be no significant changes in the prices of medicines under the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) said.
Its Chief Executive, Wan Saiful Wan Jan, said there were concerns over the potential in the prices of medicines as during the TPP negotiations, several TPP members proposed for the Regulatory Data Protection (RDP) to be extended to 12 years.
“However, in the end, all TPP members agreed that the RDP will be at five years. In Malaysia’s case, there will be no changes as our current RDP is at five years,” he told reporters following a TPP discussion on economic growth and protection of intellectual property rights today.
He said just like other countries proposing the RDP extension, the Malaysian government had also been subsidising medicines in public hospitals.
“It’s just that we don’t have proper names like national health insurance system like in these countries.
“Therefore, people shouldn’t be worried of hike in medicine and drug prices,” he said.
According to media reports, the longer RDP period would lead to increase in medicine prices as the drug information would be not be disclosed to the market.
This would lead to monopolisation and higher prices as the information was limited to the producers.
In the TTP negotiations, the US and Japan proposed that the RDP for biologic medicines to be prolonged and aligned with practices in several countries.
This has sparked concerns as it could lead to increase in public spending on medicines and limit access for generic drug producers.
A recent study by IDEAS showed that such fears were unfounded based on past experiences in Canada and Japan.
Canada and Japan have national health insurance systems which cover most health care costs, including medicines. – Bernama, November 16, 2015.
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