Hear the stories of people who know from their own experience why the US government should drop Big Pharma’s death sentence clause and why other TPP governments should stand strong in opposing the death sentence clause.
Hi, I’m Zahara Heckscher and I am speaking to you from the chemo ward where I’m waiting to be connected to the medicines that are keeping me alive and strong.
Did you know that the TPP, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, threatens to let some women die waiting? That’s because certain drug companies are trying to add a clause to the TPP that would delay generic biologic medicines for up to eight years. I call that the “Death Sentence Clause” because it would be a death sentence for tens of thousands of people like me around the world who have cancer.
I found out that the trade ministers from the TPP are going to meet in Atlanta to negotiate this clause and I am planning to go there to tell these trade ministers face to face: please, don’t trade away my health and the health of thousands of women and men around the globe! Drop the “Death Sentence Clause”! And for anyone seeing this message, if you’d like to learn more and take action, please go to TPPkills.org. This is a life and death issue. Thank you for taking action.
Click here to see video of Zahara's arrest in Atlanta, Georgia.
Raquel and three other Peruvians living with cancer, HIV/AIDS and Lupus explain how the TPP threatens to increasing the price of lifesaving medication: “Our government is negotiating a new free trade agreement with countries in Asia and the Pacific. The TPP, or Trans-pacific Partnership Agreement. The Minister in charge of negotiating the agreement has told us that it will increase economic development – that’s great!
"What this Minister has not told us is that in this TPP they are also negotiating our health. In the TPP there are chapters that seek to expand the criteria for granting patents for medicines and treatments. And what does that mean? More monopolies, less competition, and less generic medicines – or higher prices. And we can’t afford them. Thanks to competitions and generics, the cost of my HIV treatment dropped from US $10,000 to US $150 per year, and I am alive. Affordable prices like these could disappear. For me, for you, for someone you know. And all of this, just so that pharmaceutical companies can make more profits.
"Does this make sense? No! Do you want your health insurance to keep rising? Do you want to have to pay monthly installments for your medical treatments because they are so expensive? Share this video! Because our health and our lives are NOT negotiable.”
My name is Soo Ming, I am a breast cancer survivor in Malaysia. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005 and have gone through six cycles of chemotherapy, twenty-five cycles of radiotherapy, and five years of Tamoxifen.
Along with my fellow breast cancer survivors, we strongly oppose the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, which is believed to prevent access to affordable medicine and treatment for cancer patients. We oppose any efforts where developing nations are asked to trade away health for profits of huge multinational drug manufacturers, especially for the production of biological medicines, which are the way forward for cancer treatment and care.
Please do not trade away our health for profits. The human dignity, including the right to life and treatment, must never be traded away.
My name is Benjamin. As an individual living with HIV in the United States I have a message for the trade negotiating partners of the Trans-Pacific Partnership: Hands off our medicine!
It is not okay for international trade policy to be manipulated to restrict access to life-saving medications for millions of people across our globe. I’m appalled to read the leaked copies of the text of this trade deal, which demonstrate that it would go down on record as being the most damaging to public health efforts ever.
Provisions such as the one pushed by my own government to extend out data exclusivity beyond international standards, which would drive up the cost of medicines for our seniors, for our veterans, for people living with chronic health conditions, such as myself. Perhaps the most disturbing provision is the one that would allow a massive pharmaceutical company the ability to sue a sovereign government for adopting laws simply to treat the health conditions among its people.
We can do better! I’m calling on our trade negotiating partners to reject the U.S.-backed proposal on data exclusivity. I’m calling upon all negotiating partners to reject the provision that allows a massive corporation the ability to sue a sovereign government. As the trade negotiations continue, I hope that the negotiating partners will agree with me that our lives are worth more than something that can be traded away.
Access to drugs and medications is vital. When I was diagnosed with leukemia four years ago and I was told I had a 10% chance of surviving I was devastated as everyone is… and when I relapsed I was told I had an even smaller chance of surviving; they didn’t think I could do it…
[I] looked out for every single drug out there; every single thing that could possibly help me. And I found one! It was a drug called azathioprine. I presented it to my doctors, I told them how it works and why it works for me and to my surprise they were impressed, they were like, “Yeah, let’s do it.” So I was very excited; I had a chance to survive! But then my doctor came up and told me, “It’s great that you have that option, but you probably will not be able to pay for it. It may cost $15,000 a month for 12, 15 or 20 cycles of it.” I was devastated again for a while, but luckily I had parents to back me up there. Well, they’d have to sell the house or something to get it, but who knows who doesn’t have that option. And I know others who are making that decision not to go and not to take that last shot of life because it’s too expensive, it would leave their family worse off.
And that’s what trade deals like the Trans-pacific Partnership are going to undermine… The power these deals and relationships give to big companies, I mean, it’s going to change the way we look at medicine. And it’s not just going to affect us in Australia, it’s going to affect everyone, especially the developing nations who currently have no other way to pay for these drugs other than to bypass them.…We shouldn’t be making it harder for people with diseases like mine to get access to treatment. And we shouldn’t be doing this under the veil of secrecy just to keep our allies happy, because in the end, deals that undermine our health system, deals that undermine the quality of life of … people around the world, they are going to cost us more.
As a cancer patient I’ve been lucky to receive treatment for an aggressive form of breast cancer since June 2010. In December 2014, my cancer became resistant to herceptin and I am now kept alive and well thanks to kadcyla, a new biologic drug.
I have serious concerns about the impact of the TPP on cancer patients like me and I would like to make the following three points: First, the TPP requires member countries to grant monopolies on the right to rely upon the evidence that a drug is safe and effective. The U.S. is pushing for a long term for the evidence use for the first registration of biologic drugs, such as the one keeping me alive today. Second, the TPP member countries are being asked to grant patents on minor improvement to older drugs and for new uses of older drugs. These extend patent monopolies past 20 years. Third, The TPP makes it more difficult to register bio-similar drugs. The TPP will gut obligations in U.S. law that lower damages from infringement of patents if the patents on the drugs are not disclosed to the competition. At present, for example, if a company like Roche refuses to be open about the patent landscape on a biologic drug on a timely basis, there are limits on damages for infringement. This is an incentive to be transparent that the TPP would eliminate.
All Stage-Four patients like me are worried about innovation and what is the next drug. Extending monopolies on data and patents, as well as limiting incentives for transparency, will cause even more unnecessary suffering and death for all of us.