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.
“The same if you are a singer and making a record, but the minute you record and people can just download it without paying, that can hurt the music industry.
“So we said we have to protect some, but we are very explicit in the chapter on this to say that we have to protect generics for lower income persons.
“In fact, we need to eliminate tariffs on some things like penicillin and drugs that have been on the market for a very long time.
“And over time, we actually believe that the costs of drugs is going to go down in many countries that currently have a lot of barriers in terms of those drugs,” he said.
Obama added that he also faced flak from US drug companies for not getting a better deal for them.
“I said to them, part of our job is to promote the US drug industry but the other part of our job is also to be good partners with countries that have people who are sick, and we got to make sure they are also able to get access to drugs.”
Obama said it was inaccurate to think that transparency meant negotiating the TPPA in an open environment, adding that in that instance, the deal would never have been completed.
He said the entire document was now available online and was subject to legislature approval in the 12 nations involved. – November 20, 2015.
Link to Article in Bahasa Malaysia