TPP threatens low-cost medicine

VietNamNet Bridge – The Trans-Pacific Partnership membership is expected to make medicine more expensive in Vietnam.


TPP, threaten, low-cost medicine, local pharmaceutical firms

According to an Oxfam report on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)’s impacts on medicine, the advent of the deal would enable multinational drug companies to use new intellectual property (IP) and other monopoly rules to demand higher medicine prices.

Actually, IP rules have not yet played a major role in driving up pharmaceutical prices in Vietnam.

“The new rules proposed under the TPP will seriously constrain the Vietnam’s ability to manage medicine prices in the future, and will increase the burden on the government and households to pay for medicine,” said the report.

“In Vietnam, government officials, experts, and civil society groups have all expressed serious concern about the future impact of the TPP on the affordability of medicine.”

Currently, the price of medicine in Vietnam is already unaffordable and out of reach. According to the World Health Organization, medicine is less affordable in Vietnam compared to neighbouring countries.

Patented medicine in Vietnam is up to 50 times higher than the international reference price (the lowest international price for the therapeutic equivalent of a medicine), while the price of generic medicine is over 10 times higher than that of the lowest priced generics available worldwide.

According to pharmaceutical experts, strict levels of IP protection and pharmaceutical pricing provisions in the TPP will drastically undermine Vietnam’s efforts to manage medicine prices and promote access to low-cost generic medicines.

These rules will also compromise fledgling efforts in Vietnam to ensure the quality and safety to medicine.

According to a report on “Possible Impacts of the TPP on accessibility to medicine” complied by the Hanoi School of Public Health, under the TPP’s impacts, large monopolies will increase pharmaceutical prices and reduce public access to medicine, especially for highly vulnerable groups, such as those affected by HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, viruses, and chronic diseases like cardiovascular disorders and diabetes.

According to Ho Chi Minh Securities Corporation, under the TPP commitments, Vietnam will have to reduce its pharmaceutical product import tariff from the existing average of 5% to 0%.

This means that local pharmaceutical firms would face harsh competition from imported products, especially those monopolised by foreign firms.

VIR

TPP, threaten, low-cost medicine, local pharmaceutical firms
 
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