What Past Trade Deals Reveal About Drug Pricing

The TPP's Good Medicine?

At a pharmacy in Toronto, May 2010. Mark Blinch / Files / REUTERS

Fifteen years ago, the United States entered into its first trade deal with pharmaceutical rules exceeding those required by the World Trade Organization (WTO). A debate over the potential consequences of such deals for medicine has raged ever since. Activists have argued these U.S. trade deals raise the prices of lifesaving drugs and limit access to cheap generic medicines for millions of people outside of the United States, effectively acting as a high tariff on medicines and killing patients. Industry supporters insist that the provisions of trade deal allow for greater rewards for innovative drugs and spur research and development, and they argue that weakening the pharmaceutical rules in U.S. trade deals would chill global investment, slow the development of breakthrough treatments for suffering patients, and force drug companies out of business.  

The only way to evaluate the large claims about the pharmaceutical terms in U.S. trade

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