Patent protections for brand-name drugsThe WikiLeaks anti-secrecy group has revealed a document, which in the opinion of patent experts shows that access to generic drugs, which are cheaper than their originals, may be limited by a Trans-Pacific Partnership being negotiated by 12 nations, including the U.S. and Japan.

The limitation would come through an increase of patent protection of U.S drug makers. U.S giants such as Pfizer Inc., Merck & Co., AbbVie Inc. (until recently part of Abbott Laboratories ) and Glaxo Smith Kline Plc are seeking to protect their drug research investment through the use of patents. These companies and others have also raised the argument that patent protection would create new jobs in the pharmaceutical sector in the U.S.

However, others, such as Doctors Without Borders have emphasized the importance of providing cheaper and thus more affordable and accessible drugs to developing countries, through the use of generics, especially for treating mass diseases such as HIV and AIDS.

The negotiators have to balance between the U.S government’s and corporate interest and the humanitarian issues raised above. Due to the huge scope of the Pact, which covers an economic area with $28 trillion in economic output and would be the largest accord in U.S. history, its content as regards IP and drug makers would have serious consequences for the health care in the Pacific region. Despite this, President Obama's administration is drafting an even larger accord with the E. C, which will undoubtedly have similar consequences for the healthcare in Europe.
Tags: Patents