The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a free trade agreement currently being negotiated between the European Union and the United States. Rather than reduce tariffs, the deal is primarily focused on harmonising regulatory barriers that protect citizens from health, safety and other risks. If passed, TTIP could set a new and potentially harmful standard for other trade deals around the world.

Health Action International is concerned about the lack of transparency in the negotiations and the negative impact that TTIP will have on access to safe and affordable medicines in the European Union. In particular, we’re concerned about:

Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS)
If ISDS is included in TTIP, American pharmaceutical companies will be able to sue Member State governments for their patent policies. They could also sue Member States for introducing reimbursement and safety regulations for medicines to reduce prices for citizens and prevent unsafe or ineffective medicines from entering their markets.

Excessive intellectual property rights
Patents periods for new medicines could be extended under TTIP. Longer patent periods keep often cheaper generic versions of medicines off the market for longer, resulting in higher medicine prices.

Trade secret protection
The push is on from both sides of the negotiating table to include trade secret protection in TTIP. This element would allow pharmaceutical companies to limit the amount of clinical trial data that they publicly disclose. This information is important for independent re-analysis of the data, which helps determine the extent to which a drug is safe and effective.

Greater pharmaceutical industry power over Member States’ policies
TTIP could give the pharmaceutical industry a bigger ‘say’ in European Union Member States’ medicine pricing and reimbursement policies. This will jeopardise Member States’ freedom to tailor these policies and ensure long-term, sustainable access to medicines for their citizens.

In addition to calling for greater transparency in the negotiations, Health Action International is pressing the European Union to keep ISDS and trade secret protection out of TTIP. We are also advocating for less stringent intellectual property conditions in the deal.