Last week, PFAM submitted a formal comment to the Federal Register on the President Donald J. Trump Administration's plan to renegotiate NAFTA. PFAM's major concern is that reopening of NAFTA could lead to more extended monopolies on medicines. Check out the comment here.
International law provides all nations with the ability to ensure that essential medicines are affordable and available to the people living in their countries. The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) of 1994, and the Doha Declaration of 2001 that clarified the terms of TRIPS on medicines access, both preserve individual nations’ ability to set patent criteria and to issue compulsory licenses for generic manufacturing of medicines whenever the nations’ governments deem it necessary.1
The renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) should not interfere with the existing law’s careful preservation of nations’ public health flexibilities. There is no reason for NAFTA to add on intellectual property protections that go beyond the TRIPS Agreement, which already applies to all NAFTA member countries.
Specifically, in the context of access to medicines, the NAFTA renegotiation should focus on three critical objectives: First, renegotiation should restore to its participating nations their full flexibilities in making decisions that are in the best interest of the health of their residents without facing costly challenges by multinational corporations. Second, member nations should avoid extending harmful medicines monopolies in a new version of NAFTA. And third, all parties should commit to transparency in the renegotiation process.
Restore National Flexibility in Public Health Decision-Making...