Poor living conditions put refugees at risk

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 12 — Neighbourhoods with large numbers of refugees are turning into hotbeds for diseases due to poor living conditions.

There is rubbish strewn everywhere and water remains stagnant in clogged drains as children play along the corridors of their homes in pockets of communities in Ampang.

Many Myanmar nationals live in Taman Bukit Teratai, Kampung Tasik Permai, and their surrounding areas.

Some of them are sick, but refuse to seek medical help. They head over to nearby Chinese medicine shops instead. Many are unaware about the rotavirus outbreak in their neighbourhood. Read more

MP disputes indie analysis of TPP, insists prices of drugs will rise

Source: The Malay Mail Online

PwC’s report of its analysis on the impact of selected key sectors on Malaysia’s economy showed that generic drugs will not be restricted in the country due to the similarity of the patent terms filed. ― File pic

PwC’s report of its analysis on the impact of selected key sectors on Malaysia’s economy showed that generic drugs will not be restricted in the country due to the similarity of the patent terms filed. ― File pic

PETALING JAYA, Dec 15 — Two independent cost-benefit analyses of Malaysia’s participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) failed to disprove fears that generic medicines will become more expensive if the country joins the deal, a DAP lawmaker asserted today.

DAP MP Charles Santiago insisted that the studies by the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) and PricewaterhouseCooper (PwC) only said that Malaysia will be allowed “timely access” to the medicines and neglected to mention their affordability.

“This simply means that medicines both, generic and biologic, will be made available, but whether or not the prices will go up, it did not say. However, price of drugs is surely to go up because of exclusivity rights given to pharmaceutical companies,” the Klang MP told a news conference. Read more

Obama defends TPPA, says drug prices will come down

Source: The Malaysian Insider

US President Barack Obama says there must be protection for certain drugs as no one would invent new products without intellectual property protection. – Reuters pic, November 20, 2015.

US President Barack Obama defended his Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) against accusations that it is an elitist deal by a young Malaysian participant at the town hall session today.

He said from a drug pricing perspective, the deal was done in such a way as to ensure that it protected the need for generic drugs for lower income people.

Obama said it was understandable that people had expressed concerns over the drugs patents, given that the US pharmaceutical industry was prominent across the world.

However, he said there needed to be some protection for certain drugs because without intellectual property protection, nobody was going to invent new drugs. Read more

TPPA will affect medicine prices, says expert

Source: The Sundaily

Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed has assured the public that medicine prices will not go up after signing the Pacific trade pact. – The Malaysian Insider filepic, November 13, 2015.

KUALA LUMPUR: Critics of the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) have rebutted claims by TPPA supporters that the agreement will not have an effect on medicine prices.

Policy Manager for the Malaysian AIDS Council Fifa Rahman said studies in Jordan and Thailand, which run along the same parallel lines economically as Malaysia, have all found that the provisions similar to those in their agreements led to an overall increase in cost of medicines.

“There are a lot of studies that have debunked what the pro-TPPA people are saying, these studies are done by international and legitimate medical bodies,” she said. Read more

No increase in medicine prices under TPP, says IDEAS

Source: The Malaysian Insider

IDEAS’ chief executive, Wan Saiful Wan Jan said there will be no changes in the prices of medicines under the TPP, since the Regulatory Data Protection will be at five years, not long enough to increase the prices. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, November 16, 2015.

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. Read more

Pacific trade deal will not lead to hike in medicine prices, says minister

Source: The Malaysian Insider

Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed has assured the public that medicine prices will not go up after signing the Pacific trade pact. – The Malaysian Insider filepic, November 13, 2015.

Medicine prices should not go up once the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) comes into effect, said Putrajaya, in response to the public’s biggest worry about the trade pact.

International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said two major elements in TPPA – the length of patents and data exclusivity for biologics – would not lead to higher medicine prices.

Mustapa said these two elements were already present in laws and standards in the Malaysian healthcare industry and so far, they have not led to extraordinary hikes in medicine prices.

“But we know it is a big worry for the public and it is a worry that we need to deal with. Read more

Pacific trade deal could limit affordable drugs

Source: The Malaysian Insider

The World Health Organisation says the Trans-Pacific Partnership may limit the availability of affordable medicines. – Reuters pic, November 12, 2015.

A massive trade pact between 12 Pacific rim countries could limit the availability of affordable medicines, the head of the World Health Organisation said on Thursday, joining a heated debate on the impact of the deal.

Margaret Chan told a conference there were “some very serious concerns” about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a central plank of US President Barack Obama’s trade policy which still needs to be ratified by member governments.

“If these agreements open trade yet close the door to affordable medicines we have to ask the question: is this really progress at all,” Chan asked a conference in Geneva. Read more

Drug prices stay, Malaysia gains from TPPA, Mustapa tells critics

Source: The Malaysian Insider

Malaysians can still access affordable medicines despite the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, says the minister in charge of overseeing the controversial trade deal. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, November 7, 2015.

Malaysia’s entry into the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) will not undermine national sovereignty nor lead to price hikes for medicine, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed says in an open letter to critics.

In the letter sent to The Malaysian Insider, Mustapa said there have been several“misconceptions” among the public and various non-governmental organisations about the two matters after the full text of the controversial trade pact was released two days ago.

There was argument, he said, that Malaysia’s participation in the TPPA would prevent access for its citizens to affordable medicines because of the clause on patent extension but this allegation was “not accurate”. Read more

Trade pact confirms our worst fears, says anti-TPP group

Source: The Malaysian Insider

Anti-Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement group Bantah TPPA says the deal will affect access to affordable medicines. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, November 5, 2015.

The finalised texts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement confirm its worst fears about allowing a select few driven by multinational commercial interests to establish a deal behind closed doors, a group against the trade deal said today.

Bantah TPPA said the deal would jeopardise access to affordable medicines, adding that its concerns regarding the agreement had not been overblown.

“[The intellectual property chapter] enables drug companies to press for patent term extensions beyond the standard 20 years and compensate for any ‘unreasonable’ time a patent office or drug regulatory authority takes to approve a patent application or grant marketing approval,” the group’s chairman Mohd Nizam Mahshar said in a statement today. Read more