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Send the Coalition a message

One of the key sticking points in the Trans-Pacific Partnership is over the US-led push to extend monopolies for Big Pharmaceutical companies.

Public pressure is working, Trade minister Andrew Robb has so far refused to backdown to Big Pharma's demands.1 But he's still determined to see this dirty deal through to the bitter end.

Representatives from around the world will return to the negotiating table next week – and if they don't seal the deal now, the entire thing could fall over.

Will you send a message to your Coalition representative and ask them to stay strong when it comes to protecting affordable medicines in Australia?

Overnight, the price of a drug used for treating people living with HIV/AIDS jumped 5500% – from $13.50 a pill to $750, when the CEO of an American pharmaceutical company, decided he needed a bigger profit.2 This is exactly the kind of dodgy dealings we're up against in the TPP, which will extend Big Pharma's monopolies on medicines and prevent competition from cheaper generic brands.

Let your Coalition representative know it's the people who rely on medicines who need protection, not Big Pharma.

Here are some talking points you may like to use in your message to your MP or senator:

  • The TPP will put affordable medicines at risk

    The US Big Pharmaceutical lobby is pushing for an extension of data exclusivity period for medicines. Before a new medicine is manufactured, it undergoes extensive testing to ensure it's safe. Generic medicine manufacturers currently need to wait five years before they can access this data to produce more affordable versions of the medicine.

    The US wants to increase this period from five, to eight or even twelve years, which would delay the introduction of cheaper generic medicines into the market, making medicines more expensive for Australians. Imagine having to pay $50-$100 - or more - for a simple asthma inhaler. That's the average cost in the US, when they currently sell for less than $10 here.

  • Australians don't want to any part of a deal that will give special privileges to foreign corporations to sue our government.

    Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) is a provision that allows a foreign corporation to sue governments for policy decisions they believe harm their investments.

    ISDS can be used for very legitimate purposes, for example if a government was to nationalise a private company – but it could also be used to sue governments for actions taken in the public interest, such as banning harmful pesticides, or placing a moratorium on fracking to protect water resources.

    The risks of ISDS aren't merely hypotheticals, we're already seeing them played out in countries like Canada, El Salvador and even right here in Australia.

  • Australians don't know much about what's in the TPP – but what we know is bad news.

    Most of the information we have so far is from leaks to media or groups like Wikileaks, and what we're seeing there is alarming. Health experts, including Medecins Sans Frontieres, are concerned about the implications for costs and prices of health products. This agreement is broad and sweeping - and from what we know about it so far, it's not something many Australians would be comfortable signing onto. Our political leaders should stand up for our sovereignty and stand against the TPP.

[1] Andrew Robb: It's crunch time for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Sydney Morning Herald, 12 August 2015
[2] Entrepreneur defends decision to raise price of life-saving drug 50-fold, The Guardian, 22 September 2015


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Will you contact your Coalition MP?

Use the form below to send an email to your MP.

What to say:

  • Introduce yourself. Explain you're a local constituent. If you've voted for this MP in the past, it's good to mention this.

  • Tell them your concerns. Be direct: "I'd like to see you take a stand against the TPP in the Coalition party room" or, "I urge you to stand against the provisions in the TPP that would allow foreign corporations to sue governments."

  • Be courteous. A polite message from a constituent, will go a lot further than a hostile one.

  • Ask for a reply.

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