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Fast Track Trade Authority/TPP Disaster

The Pending Trans Pacific Partnership Catastrophe

Are you a parent? Caregiver? Student? Retiree? One of the millions with a chronic health condition? Have you ever used a generic medicine? Undergone a medical procedure? Indeed, ever eaten food, worn clothing, or used the internet?

Are you aware of how the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Free Trade Agreement could affect you?

“Free” trade agreements (FTAs) open up trade and commerce with reduced restrictions and fees between countries. In theory, they improve economic growth and protect against abuses. In reality, they favor those with stronger political and economic muscle.

The US and 11 other countries are currently negotiating the TPP-FTA behind closed doors. If it passes, it will affect the lives of over 500,000,000 people, and yet these people – you and me – are not privy to the “agreement” details. Your own congressional representative, who will vote on the TPP, does not have free access to most details because top security clearance is required and only provided fully to the corporate representatives participating in and benefiting from the negotiations.

From recently leaked documents, we know that, if passed, the TPP-FTA will allow multinational pharmaceutical companies to expand further their market and price monopolies. The TPP will severely curtail or completely inhibit countries from manufacturing or importing life-saving and affordable generic medicines, threatening efforts to control and treat diseases, and eventually leading to the deaths of millions.

Nothing illustrates this better than the potential impact on those with HIV/AIDS, who will die not because they could not be treated, but because they could not access necessary medicines at affordable prices. Access to generic drugs is the key to successfully managing HIV/AIDS globally. The dramatic price increases anticipated under the TPP threaten to reverse important gains made in recent years against AIDS, including a significant 25% drop in new infections, and 20% drop in AIDS-related deaths. According to Doctors Without Borders, “unless certain damaging provisions are removed, the TPP has the potential to become the most harmful pact ever for access to medicines.”

Additionally, the TPP will affect the costs of medical procedures, threaten internet privacy, and influence what you wear, drive, and feed your children. It will negatively affect US jobs and the overall economy, while lining the pockets of pharmaceutical and other big industries.

The Administration wants Congress to sign off on the TPP virtually sight unseen, a process called Fast Track. Under this process, there is no civil society participation and Congress is inhibited from managing the trade negotiation and providing congressional oversight, as required under the US Constitution. If TPP passes, it will undermine the sovereignty of the United States by putting corporations in the driver’s seat of public policy.

The TPP Free Trade Agreement is neither free nor an agreement, and it is certainly not democratic!

Liesl Messerschmidt and Christa Sprinkle
Portland, OR

About Us

Connecting, Supporting, Making a Difference!

The Portland Area Global AIDS Coalition (PAGAC) is a grassroots network connecting the over two hundred local organizations which address issues of HIV/AIDS, global health and global poverty, both here in Portland and around the world. They include faith based organizations, school clubs, chapters of national advocacy organizations and more. They vary in size from large organizations such as Mercy Corps to one person crusades. The work of the member organizations varies from providing direct health care services to working in the arts, engaging in advocacy, educating women and children, working with micro-finance projects and more. Each organization strives to make an impact in the areas in which they work.

News

Great Musical Summary of the Problems of the Trans Pacific Partnership Trade (TPP) Negotiations

Thanks to Consumers International you can enjoy this quick, fun, snappy, musical video and get a great overview of the issues with the TPP.

Senate Committee Approves Reauthorization of PEPFAR

On September 30, 2013 the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the PEPFAR (the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) Stewardship and Oversight Act. The committee approved the bill that was introduced last week to reauthorize PEPFAR with two significant requirements: partner countries must report on the issue of HIV/TB coinfection and treatment in addition to reporting on the hiring, training, and health worker retention in order to close workforce limitations.

TB is the number one killer of people living with HIV. This is not your "typical" TB lung infection. Rather TB of the lungs can spread to other organs such as brain, spine, bones, GI tract.

Training and maintaining well paid health care staff is another issue that, once remedied, can positively and dramatically change the landscape of public health, particularly in developing countries.

PEPFAR Reauthorization Bills Introduced by Bipartisan Leaders of House & Senate

September 26, 2013

News reports out today say that Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Bob Corker (R-TN) ranking members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Representatives, Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Ed Royce ( R-CA) of the House Foreign Affairs Committee have introduced bills to continue PEPFAR, the President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief for another ten years. PEPFAR is due to expire at the end of September, ten years after first authorized by President George W. Bush. While the bill does not include funding allocations, it is expected that the funding bill will be at the level of President Obama's 2014 budget allocation for PEPFAR of $4 Billion.

OHSU vaccine candidate completely clears AIDS-causing virus from the body

An HIV/AIDS vaccine candidate developed by researchers at Oregon Health & Science University appears to have the ability to completely clear an AIDS-causing virus from the body. In a paper published online today in Nature, the researchers show that 50 percent of monkeys given the vaccine were able to completely eliminate the monkey form of HIV. The researchers used a common, harmless virus called cytomegalovirus and modified it to carry genes for SIV proteins, the virus that causes AIDS in monkeys. Click here for a fascinating interview with Dr. Picker as he discusses the vaccine and what it will mean for people living with AIDS.

Louis Picker, M.D., associate director of the OHSU Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute and lead author of the study, is hopeful that creating a modified version of the vaccine with HIV will yield similar results in humans.

From OHSU Blogs

Your Urgent Support Needed! Please Sign the MoveOn.org Petition!

We need your help!
Get involved in the Access to Medicines Campaign to keep medication available for people living with HIV/AIDS by continued use of lifesaving generic medicines.

HOW YOU CAN HELP
Sign our petition against the Trans Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement and get others to sign at MoveOn.org
Post information on your website, spread news of the campaign via social media sites, newsletters or other publications.
Educate your legislators that it makes no sense to limit access to generic medications - we need to spend taxpayer money more wisely.

India's Supreme Court and Indonesia Government Open Up Drug Treatment

India's Supreme Court determined that drug patents that have expired may not be renewed by simple tweaking of the drug. Drug companies have long utilized the concept of "Evergreening," the practice of tweaking a drug formula just enough to say it should be considered a brand new drug--thus extended it's patent rights another 20 years. The Indian Supreme Court said, not so. Not if it isn't warranted. The primary drug being discussed in this case is the Swiss Company, Novartis' cancer treatment drug, Gleevac (Glivac in the US). The decision sets a dramatic precidence for all manner of drugs, including those HIV/AIDS treatments, that are the life source of millions in developing countries. It opens up the continued use (and further use) generics.

Intellectual property rights arguments such as these are at the heart of many of the Free Trade Agreement discussions that the US is engaged in in with Asian-Pacific and Central-South American countries. According to the Economic Times, Australia, the EU, and Canada may follow India's lead.

On September 3, 2012, the President of the Republic of Indonesia enacted a Presidential Decree in which President Yudhoyono stated that "the government would procure generic equivalents of the international patent for sever HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis B drugs." - Edward Low of HealthGap.

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