One of these regional FTAs is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). This agreement includes 12 countries that form the Pacific Rim, including Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the US as well as smaller economies including Vietnam and Brunei. Negotiations surrounding this agreement are conducted in confidence and more than half of Australians have not even heard of the agreement. Much of what is known is through leaked chapters of agreement negotiations that are set to conclude imminently.
While the economic benefits of the TPP are significant, a number of concerns relating to the public health of Australians and our regional neighbours have been raised. Specific concerns include the extension of patents for drugs, potential for interference with the operation of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and the inclusion of provisions that could give foreign corporations rights to challenge domestic public health policies.
Concern has been raised in Australia by peak health bodies including the AMA. This sentiment has been echoed in New Zealand, with 60 health academics and practitioners writing an open letter to the New Zealand Health Minister in December 2013 urging him to reject any proposals within TPP negotiations that would require changes to existing law, policy or practice, or threaten New Zealand’s ability to respond to new public health challenges. Read more
For more details about the TPPA click here