TPP Health Impacts

What is the TPP?

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a 5544 page policy agreement that affects human rights, democracy, jobs, the environment, and access to medicines. It was negotiated by the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Malaysia, Peru, Vietnam, Chile, Brunei, Singapore, and New Zealand. It will not become law unless the US Congress ratifies it.

TPP Handout on Health

How does a Multinational Trade Agreement Negatively Affect Cancer Patients?

Hannah and her TreatmentCutting-edge cancer treatments in development have great promise for transforming the future of cancer treatments, and some even have the potential to cure some cancers that were previously considered terminal.  Many of the medicines in the pipeline are forms of immunotherapy and other biologic medicines. (Biological medicines include monoclonal antibodies such as Herceptin, Xgeva, and Neupogen, which are used to target and kill cancer cells and/or to keep cancer patients healthy and strong.) The TPP, if passed, would lock in extra monopolies for these kind of biological treatments — up to 5-8 years in addition to regular patent protections. This means generic (aka biosimilar) production and competition that drive down the prices to a more reasonable level would be blocked for years. As we know, cancer patients do not have years to wait for access to treatment that works. At a time when people are working to reduce these monopolies and make cancer medicines more affordable, the TPP would lock in policies that keep prices high and threaten access.

The Danger: Patients Without Access to the Medicines They Need to Stay Alive

Imagine being told by your doctor that you need a newly approved monoclonal antibody to shut down your cancer, then finding out that insurance will not cover the treatment, and it would cost you $100,000 a year to pay out of pocket.

This is only one of many ways that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) could lock in policies that keep cancer medicines prices high and prevent some people from accessing the medicines they need to stay alive. There’s a long list of how the TPP could harm cancer patients and families:

  • The TPP would reward pharmaceutical companies for investing in legal maneuvers to extend patents, such as tweaking dosing regimens, called “evergreening patents,” rather than for investing in new lifesaving medicines.
  • The TPP would allow foreign pharmaceutical companies to sue our government outside our courts in private tribunals over public health policies such as certain policies designed to keep prices down.
  • The TPP would impede Congress from enacting sensible reforms to reduce medicine expenditures through the ACA, Medicare and Medicaid, resulting in higher taxes and higher insurance premiums, even for healthy people.

The TPP would affect people with other serious illnesses as well, including HIV AIDS, Hepatitis C, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease.

The trade agreement was negotiated behind closed doors by corporate interests and governments, and without input from groups representing patients or the public. That’s why it represents the financial interests of big companies at the costs of regular people.

“Worst Trade Agreement for Access to Medicines” 

Outside the US, the TPP would force other countries signing to agree to long monopoly periods that would delay generics and keep prices high.

“TPP will still go down in history as the worst trade agreement for access to medicines in developing countries, which will be forced to change their laws to incorporate abusive intellectual property protections for pharmaceutical companies.”
— Doctors without Borders

The net effect of the TPP for Patients

Leslie Strong PatientProduction of affordable, life-saving generic and biosimilar medicines will be delayed. More cancer patients will be shut out of treatment. Taxes and insurance premiums will have to go up to cover the obscene costs for emerging biologic drugs, many of which costs over $100,000 per year.

Spread the Word about the TPP

Please help us get out the word that the TPP is dangerous for public health and cancer care. Use the social media links on the upper right, or copy this text and paste into your Facebook, Twitter, or email: The TPP would threaten access to cancer medicines. Learn more and take action:

Many of our elected officials are unaware of the impact the TPP will have on cancer medicines. Join us in letting members of Congress know the facts by clicking on our home page and signing the Petition.


Learn More

About Our Campaign

Our Indiegogo Campaign: Cancer Patients Legal Defense and Advocacy Fund

hanna and Zahara in color jpegZahara and Hannah Speak Out

Video of Hannah and Zahara Pharma arrest

Zahara on Thom Hartmann Radio Show

 Zahara on Thom Hartmann TV  The Big Picture Explaining Pharma Bro


About the TPP and Access to Medicines

Global Trade Watch Details about TPP and Health

Pharma Bro/Rob Weissman video

Doctors without Borders Testimony to Congress about TPP

Lori Wallach Explains TPP with Ed Schultz