NO TTIP Berlin and the World Development Movement have launched a petition to STOP TTIP!
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a trade deal currently being negotiated between the United States and the EU. The changes proposed in this Free Trade Agreement would mark the biggest corporate take-over in history with almost no public oversight – compromising democracy, the environment and above all, our health! (More info below)
We can’t let TTIP through! Luckily NO TTIP Berlin and the World Development Movement have SELF ORGANISED a European Citizens Initiative calling on the European Union and its member states to halt all negotiations on the deal with the USA!
There are over 730,000 signatures so far and we need a million to have the chance to voice our concerns within European Parliament to the people who make the decisions. We need to get our voice heard! Sign the petition and help us win this battle against big business!
The European Union is currently negotiating a huge trade deal with the Unites States called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The changes proposed in this Free Trade Agreement would mark the biggest corporate take-over in history with almost no public oversight – compromising democracy, the environment and above all, our health!
The UK is one of the strongest supporters of TTIP, aligning the corporate take-over with economic growth – but this will come at a high cost! Join the National of Day of Action on July 12th and say NO to TTIP!
How will TTIP affect public health?
TTIP is set to increase the power of BIG PHARMA allowing them to charge even higher prices for life-saving medicines from drugs to treat HIV to new treatments for cancer.
This poses a massive problem for individual patients in Europe and the USA and also for national health systems – all of which are already struggling with austerity measures and public health cuts. But this is not just an issue for patients in the EU and the USA. Leaders want TTIP to set the global standard for all future FTAs, meaning countries in the global South will be pressurised into abiding by big corporation’s rules if they want to trade with the EU or USA. For countries whose health budgets are already stretched, the increased cost of drugs that will accompany FTAs means more and more people won’t be able to afford life-saving medicines.
What is BIG PHARMA’s game? Here are their 5 key tactics…
1) Delaying the availability of cheaper generic medicines in the EU (and the rest of the world).
Generic medicines are identical, quality-assured copies of brand name drugs. There are strict intellectual property (IP) and patent rules giving pharmaceutical companies a 20 year monopoly over new medicines which must be overcome before generic production can happen. Generic medicines save EU health services £19 billion a year. In developing countries competition from generic companies has helped cut the cost of HIV treatment from $15,000 per person per year to under $100. BUT ALL THIS WILL CHANGE IF PHARMA GET THEIR WAY!
Big pharma are pushing to lengthen their patent monopolies; delay generic production by linking regulatory approval to patents and lowering the bar for granting a patent in line with US standards making it even easier to get them approved. They are also seeking to extend the period of ‘data exclusivity’. This means only the company that paid for clinical trials can use the results – this would force expensive and unethical re-runs of the trials, or a longer wait for generic versions. Without generic competition, patients will be paying up to $25,000 per year for 3rd line HIV medicines in some countries.
2) Sue governments for safe-guarding public health through reducing the cost of medicine
Arguably the most controversial aspect of TTIP, the ISDS (Investor to State Dispute Settlement), will allow pharmaceutical companies (or any company) to sue a government if they pass a law which they think harms their effort to make a profit.
This is a very real threat. US pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly is currently suing the Canadian government for $500 million under the ISDS (established by the North American Free Trade Agreement) for trying to produce affordable versions of their drugs for ADHD and schizophrenia.
3) Have a bigger say in government’s medical price plans
Governments around the world have made laws to decrease the cost of medicines in their countries through open procurement and reimbursement schemes. For example in the region of Andalucía in Spain doctors are not allowed to give out prescriptions for brand name drugs if a generic alternative exists, ensuring patients always pay less! TTIP will give BIG PHARMA a bigger say in government pricing initiatives, putting their profit-driven agenda above public health.
4) Limit public availability of crucial clinical trial data on safety and efficacy
TTIP will allow pharmaceutical companies to use ‘trade secret’ rules and ‘confidential business information’ rules to absolve them of their responsibility to make their safety and efficacy data public. Studies have shown that even under current rules, the pharmaceutical industry is twice as likely to release positive data as negative. Such actions will 1) cost the tax payer since ineffective drugs could be purchased, as was the case with bird flu when governments spent millions on Tamiflu which proved no more effective than aspirin, and 2) mean doctors and patients won’t be aware of the possible side effects and safety of particular drugs.
5) Negotiating in secret!
Industry has had approximately 15 times more consultations on TTIP than the EU and US public and when there has been a public consultation it has been designed to be as convoluted and complicated as possible to deter people from taking part. With BIG PHARMA playing such a major role in TTIP design it’s no wonder we’ve ended up with an agreement which makes medicines, more expensive whilst absolving BIG PHARMA from proving their safety and efficacy.
Watch this video for more information on the implications of TTIP! ——————>
Feeling frustrated? Join the NATIONAL DAY of ACTION of July 12th and say NO to TTIP! There are loads of different events happening from Robot Dance Offs in Edinburgh to Corporates vs Public Sector workers football games in London. Click here to find out what is happening near you or make your own event and add it to the list.
What’s the STOPAIDS plan?
Two of the UK’s biggest TTIP supporters are David Cameron and the Minister for Business, Innovation and Trade Vince Cable. We’re going to show who they are fighting for with the logos of the companies that stand to benefit plastered over their suits. Dress in suits, make your own or buy masks available here and here, make a label saying ‘Sponsored by Pfizer, Johnson and Johnson, Merck MSD’ and pin it to your back J! We want to deride the UK government for siding with the super-rich pharmaceutical industry at the expense of public health![UC1]
Join us and the 46 other civil society organisation to tell the UK government ‘NO to TTIP!’