Response by Jason Cone, MSF-USA Executive Director, to President Obama’s State of the Union Address

The international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is gravely concerned about the impact that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will have on access to medicines around the world. In his comments on the TPP tonight, the President continued to promote a trade deal that will export the policies that have made medicines unaffordable in the US to close to half a billion people around the world.

The TPP will lock-in high, unsustainable drug prices, delay the availability of price-lowering generic medicines, and price much-needed medical care out of the reach of millions of people.

The high price of medicines is a growing problem, especially for developing countries where MSF has medical operations. This is also a recognized issue in the US. A report released last month by Congress on access to a hepatitis C drug documented how pharmaceutical companies used intellectual property monopolies to maximize profit at the expense of people’s health, resulting in delays and drug rationing. 

Why is President Obama pushing the TPP, a deal that will enable companies to expand the strategies used to keep drug prices unaffordable and undermine government’s ability to increase competition?

MSF continues to urge the US government to remove harmful provisions for access to medicines from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement before it is too late. If these provisions are not removed, the TPP will be the most damaging trade agreement ever for access to medicines.