You’ve got to hand it to Obama in a weird way. He does a good job of placating his populist flank while his administration does the bidding of large corporations. Obamacare is one example, net neutrality is another, the TPP yet another.
One of the reasons we have generally opposed the Trans Pacific Partnership, even though we are big fans of international free trade, is because the agreement is likely chock full of crony deals. There’s a reason why so much secrecy surrounds the thing.
But we have been getting glimpses of the paper beast. The most recent comes from Politico.
Looks like the drug companies are about to have a big (and ongoing) international payday. Thing is this payday comes not from innovation and the satisfaction of customers but from privileges written into the TPP for pharma. At least they appear to be in the agreement at this point.
Obama is arguably the best friend Big Pharma ever had.
A recent draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade deal would give U.S. pharmaceutical firms unprecedented protections against competition from cheaper generic drugs, possibly transcending the patent protections in U.S. law.
POLITICO has obtained a draft copy of TPP’s intellectual property chapter as it stood on May 11, at the start of the latest negotiating round in Guam. While U.S. trade officials would not confirm the authenticity of the document, they downplayed its importance, emphasizing that the terms of the deal are likely to change significantly as the talks enter their final stages. Those terms are still secret, but the public will get to see them once the twelve TPP nations reach a final agreement and President Obama seeks congressional approval.
Still, the draft chapter will provide ammunition for critics who have warned that TPP’s protections for pharmaceutical companies could dump trillions of dollars of additional health care costs on patients, businesses and governments around the Pacific Rim. The highly technical 90-page document, cluttered with objections from other TPP nations, shows that U.S. negotiators have fought aggressively and, at least until Guam, successfully on behalf of Big Pharma.