Health professionals are calling for a comprehensive health impact assessment of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement to protect the health of New Zealanders. According to leaked information, international big business – such as the tobacco or alcohol industries – could sue the New Zealand government if the country’s health-based policies threaten their profits.
Clauses designed to protect the intellectual property rights of the pharmaceutical industry would apparently prevent PHARMAC purchasing cheaper generic drugs; making medicines more expensive in New Zealand.
“The negotiations are all being carried out in secret, and the little that has leaked out is very worrying,” says Dr Joshua Freeman, a spokesperson for the ten health organisations involved.
“New Zealand should have the sovereign right to make laws and policies for the wellbeing of its people without interference. Under the TPP it appears that New Zealand could find itself in the international trade tribunal if it brings in new policy around, for example, tobacco, alcohol, unhealthy food, or environmental regulation.”
Read the full media release.
28 October 2014