Trading Away Access to Medicines "Revisited"

How the European trade agenda continues to undermine access to medicines

Publication date: 29 September 2014
Author: Sophie Bloemen, Tessel Mellema and Leila Bodeux

Insufficient innovation and a lack of access to affordable medicines are major barriers to achieving the right to health in low- and middle-income countries.

This paper argues that European Union trade policies should not be used to bolster pharmaceutical companies’ profits by extending their monopolies on medicine prices to supposedly reward research. Instead, the incoming European Commission must defend a trade and R&D model that is coherent with its development and public health objectives, and that supports innovative R&D models that create new, affordable medicines.

This should begin by ensuring that the ‘regulatory harmonization’ to be enshrined in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership will not lock in regulations that serve corporate interests over those of the public, setting new global standards that will later be imposed on developing countries.

For more on this, read Oxfam and HAI Europe’s original briefing: Trading Away Access to Medicines: How the European Union’s trade agenda has taken a wrong turn