We will have to pay more for medicines


One of the most sensitive areas is new generation biologic medicines, which treat diseases like cancer and diabetes very effectively with low-side effects. The rules say TPPA parties must provide the pharmaceutical company with a monopoly of 8 years or its equivalent (New Zealand law current provides 5 years). Every additional year adds tens of millions of dollars to Pharmac’s bill for subsidising medicines.

New Zealand’s negotiators say our processes meet the TPPA’s vaguely worded requirement. But the US may not and it may demand that we provided longer monopolies before it will ‘certify’ that NZ has complied with our obligations in the TPPA. The rule will also be renegotiated in 10 years, by which time biologics will be a much bigger share of our medicines budget. In addition, there is a transparency annex that affects Pharmac’s processes that will increase its administrative burden and provide big pharmaceutical multinationals with more opportunity to challenge Pharmac’s decisions.

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