Cancer Specialist Speaks Out About TPPA

Dr George Laking is an Oncologist. Here he explains how American Pharmaceutical Companies could use the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement  to extend the patent period for their drugs in New Zealand  before  cheaper generic versions can be distributed. 

Having Cancer is bad enough without having to wait longer for drugs you can afford, yet that’s what the leaked  TPPA documents earlier this year could allow to happen.

Please email Trade Minister and Prime Minister John Key expressing your concern at the proposed  Investor State Dispute Provisions in the TPPA and the increase in the length of time that may result in extending patents on medicines before cheaper Generic versions can be distributed.

Please ask both Minister  Groser and the  Prime Minister to give you their assurance they will not sign the TPP Agreement if it threatens our sovereignty in any way  and/or increases the cost and availability of medicines. Better still, write a letter to them c/o Parliament Buildings, Wellington ,New Zealand. Then they have to physically write back to you . Thank you.

 If you have a hearing difficulty please find the transcript below.

I’m George Laking, I’m an oncologist

When medicines are first released they are usually expensive and we have to wait until the patent expires and a cheaper generic version is made.Take these two  – Gleevec and imatinib,  That’s two names for the same drug, very effective for some types of leukaemia and stomach cancer.  In New Zealand we can prescribe generic imatinib for 30 days at five ninety eight (turns imatinib packet around to reveal $598 price tag) – because Gleevec is out of patent in our country.

But in the USA you’d pay nine thousand eight hundred dollars for this box, for the same thirty day supply of the same drug, but with the Gleevec brand  (turns Gleevec packet around to reveal the $9863 price tag).  That’s 16x the price.

If the USA has its way in the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, drug  patents will be made to last longer, and drugs like these will stay  expensive in our country for 8 to 12 extra years, before a generic can be sold.

 Cancer is bad enough without having to worry whether our health care system can afford the necessary treatments.  It’s hard to see how any trade  deal could make us wealthy enough to pay 16x the price.

 Please take action.  Send your message to the Trade Minister Tim Groser and Prime Minister John Key asking them to confirm they will not sign the TPPA if it’s going to increase the time before cheaper generic medicines can be sold.
 Thank you

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