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WikiLeaks Releases Section of Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement That Would Affect Health Care

WikiLeaks TPP Healthcare Annex GraphicWikiLeaks has released a draft of an annex of a secret Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, which would likely enable pharmaceutical companies to fight the ability of participating governments to control the rise of drug prices. It would empower companies to mount challenges to Medicare in the United States.

For a number of years, the US and eleven other countries—Australia, Brunei, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam—have been negotiating proposals for the TPP. Drafts previously released by WikiLeaks have shown that the US has been the most extreme negotiator in the process.

“This leak reveals that the Obama administration, acting at the behest of pharmaceutical companies, has subjected Medicare to a series of procedural rules, negotiated in secret, that would limit Congress’ ability to enact policy reforms that would reduce prescription drug costs for Americans – and might even open to challenge aspects of our health care system today,” according to Peter Maybarduk, director of Public Citizen’s Global Access to Medicines Program.

Public Citizen is a watchdog group that has been at the forefront of challenging the TPP in the US.

The annex, which is dated December 17, 2014, expressly names the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services as being covered by the trade agreement.

The watchdog group contends that the language could affect the ability of the Secretary of Health and Human Services to pursue pharmaceutical reform and “negotiate the price of prescription drugs on behalf of Medicare beneficiaries.”

“Vital to this reform would be the establishment of a national formulary, which would provide the government with substantial leverage to obtain discounts,” Public Citizen suggests. Yet, if the TPP is adopted, this “formulary” would be subject to the agreement’s requirements, which would “pose significant administrative costs, enshrine greater pharmaceutical company influence in government reimbursement decision-making and reduce the capability of the government to negotiate lower prices.”

The Senate already approved “fast track” legislation that would give President Obama “trade promotion authority” to send the TPP to Congress for a vote. The House of Representatives will vote on “fast track” this week (as early as June 11).

The Obama administration has been highly secretive, requiring senators and their staffers to have security clearances to read the drafted TPP.

Senator Barbara Boxer was confronted by a guard who told her she could not “take notes” on the trade agreement. The guard insisted the notes would be kept in a file, which made Boxer even more outraged. (What would stop the Obama administration from using such notes to maneuver around the objections of members of Congress?)

A growing bloc of representatives in the House have solidified their opposition to the TPP and demand the agreement be made public before a “fast track” vote.

In Australia, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that the new details suggest the country’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) would be undermined and increase the cost of medicines for the public.

The drafted text “tightly specifies the operation of countries’ schemes for subsidizing pharmaceuticals and medical devices with the aim of providing greater disclosure, more avenues for pharmaceutical industry influence and greater opportunities for industry contestation of pharmaceutical decision making,” according to Dr. Deborah Gleeson, an expert in Australia on international trade and public health policy who analyzed the leaked document [PDF].

Although, as Gleeson notes, this draft seems to be watered down from previous language, which would have made it possible for companies to “target” the pricing of pharmaceuticals.

This section would have significant implications for New Zealand’s Pharmaceutical Management Agency (Pharmac), which Professor Jane Kelsey of Auckland University says has been a prime target of US pharmaceutical companies in TPP negotiations.

“This leaked text shows the TPPA will severely erode Pharmac’s ability to continue todeliver affordable medicines and medical devices as it has for the past two decades,” Kelsey states. “That will mean fewer medicines are subsidized, or people will pay more as co-payments, or more of the health budget will go to pay for medicines instead of other activities, or the health budget will have to expand beyond the cap. Whatever theoutcome, the big global pharmaceutical companies will win, and the poorest and most vulnerable New Zealanders will lose.”

According to WikiLeaks, few in the governments of negotiating countries have access to the “full text of the agreement and the public, who it will affect most,” have no access at all. “Hundreds of large corporations, however, have been given access to portions of the text, generating a powerful lobby to effect changes on behalf of these groups.

“WikiLeaks has launched a campaign to crowd-source a $100,000 reward for the rest of the TPP, which at time of press [has] raised $62,000,” the media organization states.

Previously, an intellectual property chapter, an updated intellectual property chapter, environmental proposals, a report on the section dealing with the environment and other agreement documents dealing with country’s positions on the trade agreement were published.

WikiLeaks also released a draft of another secretive trade agreement, the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA). It actually involves more countries than the TPP and, if adopted, would likely increase the ability of corporations to protect business from government regulations in the public interest.

The information has contributed significantly to the public’s understanding of the process that has been unfolding behind closed doors. Without WikiLeaks’ efforts, the TPP negotiations would be even more secretive, which is to say that it would be even harder to reasonably speculate about what pharmaceutical companies and other corporations were seeking to gain through this shadowy trade agreement.

Image created by WikiLeaks for the release of the Health Care Annex. 

 

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Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure."

  • bsbafflesbrains

    Can we start calling TPP and the rest Anti-Capitalism Trade Agreements? Adam Smith would be vehemently against these Big Corporation protectionist power grabs kept secret because they are obvious to anyone who gets to read them and analyze the terms. Also, seems to me these deals would be unconstitutional on their face because they conflict with well established Police powers of the States and Federal Government.

  • bsbafflesbrains

    BHO is a servant of a bunch of rich white guys who dictate for profits and power all over the World.

  • http://Smilejamaicakrcl.com Bobbylon

    Can we start calling it for what it is: Obamatrade

  • http://Smilejamaicakrcl.com Bobbylon

    Kevin:
    Great story. My reading on Obamatrade deals is that a big big sticking point for Japan and Australia is the pharmaceutical patent issue

  • http://Smilejamaicakrcl.com Bobbylon

    Worst. President. Ever.

  • starrynight

    well kevin it’s as old as the hills. this is a trogan horse

  • bsbafflesbrains

    Hard to believe anyone could say that after GWB but it’s even in the Bible why BHO is worst ever. Matthew 7:15

  • http://Smilejamaicakrcl.com Bobbylon

    Peace Prize has accomplished what Cheney and Bush could only dream of:

    1. Cold War II
    2. Too Big to Jail making the banks stronger than ever.
    3. Record inequality. His true legacy

    4. NSA expansion
    5. Corporately mandated health insurance in the guise of affordable health care: Obamneycare
    6. None of these Obamatrade deals would have got off the ground in a McCain presidency
    7. Expanded chaos in the middle east. Creating ISIS to lose Iraq but gain Syria
    8. Worst transparency record of ANY presidnet we have EVER had
    9. The beginning of the end of the petrodollar

    10. Grand Bargain: Dec. 2016

  • bsbafflesbrains

    Matthew 7:15 King James Version (KJV) 15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

  • http://Smilejamaicakrcl.com Bobbylon

    Emperor Peace Prize is bound and determined to get us in to World War III. Wargaming a two front war in China and Russia. First strike nuclear attack on the table. Playing chicken with Lemonhead in the Baltics and Black Sea. Sabre rattling in China over man made islands.

    Maybe Superfly should read a history book in between rounds of golf

    Here’s what Montgomery said in his book on war:

    Rule 1, on page 1 of the book of war, is: “Do not march on Moscow”.
    Various people have tried it, Napoleon and Hitler, and it is no good.
    That is the first rule. I do not know whether your Lordships will know
    Rule 2 of war. It is: “Do not go fighting with your land armies in
    China”. It is a vast country, with no clearly defined objectives.

  • http://Smilejamaicakrcl.com Bobbylon

    Look at Milliband and his Red Tories strategy. Voter apathy and rejection of the limey equivalent of Lesser of Two Evils. Austerity with a happy face caught him between the eyes.

    Similar dynamic is gonna catch up to Hillary. She isn’t going before the Sheeple not because she obviously has something to hide.

    She knows from internal polling that her events will be half empty at best.

    Hillary on the campaign stump:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Re72di5phM0

    “Are you ready for more oligarchy”. “Yes we can!”

  • JamesJoyce

    Nice job Kevin…

    All the news “money” won’t print….

  • Michael Cavlan RN

    Congressman Keith Ellison- “my” Congressman, the Co-chair of the Congresonal “Progressive” Caucus was told about the dangers of the TPP. YEARS AGO. By a credible Federal Whistleblower named Mark Novitsky. yet Congressman Ellisons response was to do nothing. Didn’t say a word about it. Until it was too late to actually organize a response to it. Then he held open meetings in Minneapolis. Thereby playing his part in the Kabuki Theater of the Absurd.

    Yet people who dare point out just how deep this Kabuki Theater goes are misaligned, smeared, marginalized and yes, disappeared. Horrifyingly ironic how that works

  • Michael Cavlan RN

    Oh well- Back to TruthDig

  • disqus_tu7SEHpgGp

    Thank you, Kevin. It appears that corporations seem to want to break free of their parents, the countries that actually provided for and nourished them for decades if not centuries. This seems an attempt to establish a new world order, oligarchy by corporation, and I cannot begin to see any possible benefit to a worker, other than giving some legal semblance and okay to picking the worker’s pocket.

  • JamesJoyce

    “This leak reveals that the Obama administration, acting at the behest of pharmaceutical companies, has subjected Medicare to a series of procedural rules, negotiated in secret, that would limit Congress’ ability to enact policy reforms that would reduce prescription drug costs for Americans – and might even open to challenge aspects of our health care system today,” according to Peter Maybarduk, director of Public Citizen’s Global Access to Medicines Program.”

    Now why in God’s name would any member of Congress support such a provision not in the self interest of a constituent? Should the “governed” not know about this provision because of national defense?? Should Senators be precluded from informing the governed, those that do the voting, from aspects that would have a negative effects on them???

    Just wondering if these questions are relevant or have we turned so rancid, questioned can’t be asked, let alone answered anymore…

  • http://Smilejamaicakrcl.com Bobbylon

    Progressive Caucus. A bunch of gelded do gooders who just go along with the flow. A pox on their houses

  • CloudyTheScribbler

    all this whets my appetite to see the WHOLE TPP released to the public. I just donated to wikileaks (the site (the one you could get to from the “wikileaks just released” link in the above article) but couldn’t manage to find via google the wikileaks site specifically to crowdfund the release of the TPP. Does ANYONE know the link to the specific TPP crowdsource funding effort so I can at least widely publicize it? I was simply disgusted at the handwringing in the NY Times op-ed piece recently, finally deciding that it was probably acceptable what wikileaks is doing (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/09/opinion/when-its-ok-to-pay-for-a-story.html?ref=todayspaper&_r=0). At any rate Wikileaks is doing absolutely imperative work that the MSM has been too squeemish/scared about

  • starrynight

    bamb

  • starrynight

    yes we are hear.

  • JamesJoyce

    In that scenario, “oligarchy by corporation,” we are all effectively, “Dred Scotts.”

    No doubt the Supreme’s in deeming money speech are protecting “oligarchy by corporation.” With all the money, corporate with money, will buy our servitude. They already have…

    “5. Corporately mandated health insurance in the guise of affordable health care: Obamneycare”

    It is actually RomneyCare, under fear of tax penalty. Wait until the Supreme’s kill the subsidies for working Americans, who then can’t afford the premiums, but will still be “illegally taxed” and collectively punished with financial penalty while being convicted of no crime????

    WE SUCK!

  • bsbafflesbrains

    What if the working class 99% secretly designed a Trade Deal and the 1% got the same deal we are getting now? Trust us it will be good for billionaires but we can’t let you see it until after it’s approved. Just vote yes and wait for the trickle up, trust us.

  • JamesJoyce

    You are a thinker…. Well done! I digress from you list… Mc Fry is not relevant. No credibility.

    10. Grand Bargain?

    War and fear…. Serves to distract everyone while Ike’s fear(s) long forgotten become reality…….

  • JamesJoyce

    The “stench” of “corporate fascism” is “ripe.”

  • marxmarv

    “Now why in God’s name would any member of Congress support such a provision not in the self interest of a constituent?”

    Because it’s about the class interests of the haute-bourgeoisie, not individual self-interest. Better to not project the beliefs of an intentionally broken, politically dysfunctional working class or petit-bourgeoisie onto a class that collectively gets 100% of what they need and most of what they want.

  • marxmarv

    There are personal lubricants of the same formulation differently labeled for het and gay markets. There are automobiles with the same frame and engine and different body and trim, with roughly the same cost of materials and labor, sold at different margins to different markets. Likewise, the two-party exists solely to sell the same authoritarian, oligarchic formula under different labels to different markets, and convince those markets that there is identity of interest between them and the company.

    Markets empower money, never people. The soi-disant moi-aussi “middle class” need to get out of the high school mental bubble and recognize that.

  • marxmarv

    And then, to the false prophets, he counsels playing dumb in Mat 10:16-17: “Therefore, be sly as serpents but simple as doves.”

  • AshenLight

    But lesser of two evils! Why, if we don’t keep those crazy Republicans out of office we could be stuck with a surveillance state, perpetual war, massive economic inequality, slashing what’s left of the social safety net, and giving away our sovereignty to multinational corporations! (I’m so glad we elected Obama to prevent any of that from happening.)

  • Screwtape

    If and wherever SCOTUS kills the subsidies, the mandates will also go. It will become unenforceable in states with Fed exchanges. House of cards there. The whole system cannot afford such deviations between states. Sick folks in states without subsidies, then, would be likely to migrate to other states, with subsidies. Everyone will be doing math, and I think it will really upend everything. Maybe O can keep naming rights for his “legacy” prerogatives, but I can’t imagine the insurance regimen going forward would look anything like ACA. Just my hunch.

  • mulp

    How many more voters did you get to the polls in 2010 than in 2008 to defeat the 100% of Republicans that opposed any health care for the working poor and who call for you paying more, not less?

    If you didn’t get more to the polls in 2010 than in 2008 then you must have wanted more expensive health care than Obamacare, not less expensive.

  • oregoncharles

    “Senator Barbara Boxer was confronted by a guard who told her she could
    not “take notes” on the trade agreement. The guard insisted the notes
    would be kept in a file, which made Boxer even more outraged.”

    Sigh. Does Sen. Boxer actually not know what her prerogatives and powers are? Under Article I, Sect. 6, Paragraph 1 of the constitution (the “speech and debate” clause), she can’t be prosecuted or penalized for anything said in congress (or placed in the Congressional Record), NOR arrested while Congress is in session. In other words, this entire drama with the “security guard” and the super-secret text is Kabuki, a charade, and congress – all of them, Boxer, Warren, Sanders, Grayson – are colluding in it.

    Obama’s restrictions on Congress’s access to those documents is completely unConstitutional. They need to blow him off, tell the “guard” to bite the big one or spend time in the congressional jail cell (yes, there is one!), and just release the documents – or they’re just as guilty as he is. And the constitution really is “just a g-d piece of paper,” which is the way Obama is treating it. And us.