TPPA will affect medicine prices, says expert

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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.

In a press conference on this subject, Fifa cited a study conducted in Jordan, who signed a US-Jordan FTA with similar provisions, which found that from 1999 to 2004, the annual expenditure on medicines had gone up by 17%.

“Another study by Canadian healthcare expert Professor Joel Lexchin showed that under the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which has similar provisions to the TPPA, will increase Canadian drug costs by between 6.2% and 12.9% starting in 2023. Once the TPPA is signed, the effects won’t be felt immediately, but in the long run,” Fifa stated.

“Everything that they (TPPA proponents) are citing that (price of) medicine is not going up is not referring to anything that the medical professionals are saying. You’ve got to ask why they are producing misleading information. It doesn’t make sense,” she said.

“It’s just bewildering how they are not referring to health professionals, and there is so much evidence on medicines, and they are going out there on Twitter and in op-eds saying ‘no’,” she told a press conference in Kuala Lumpur today.

 

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