Pharmacist | 1 February 2018
Over 100 organizations concerned with health sign open letter to Canadian, Mexican and US ministers of health and trade
AIDS, cancer, religious-based, teacher, and retiree advocacy groups were among the more than 100 organizations that recently signed a letter warning health and trade ministers of the United States, Canada, and Mexico not to undermine NAFTA’s access to affordable medicines. They urged the United States not to implement transparency rules to "restrict governments’ rights to control prices of medicines and set reimbursement and formulary policies." The letter also noted, "Already, one in five people in the United States fail to fill prescriptions due to their cost. The impact on the U.S. economy of cost-related non-adherence to prescription drugs was estimated to be more than 100 billion dollars in 2012, due to complications that worsen health outcomes and require treatments that are more expensive than the medicines." In addition, the letter writers said: "Generic competition has often proven the most effective means of reducing prices and ensuring prices continue to fall over time. In the U.S., generic medicines have saved more than $1.6 trillion in health care costs in the past decade." The authors urged that "any changes to NAFTA should rebalance the agreement’s terms in favor of competition and access to affordable health care, for instance by eliminating NAFTA’s intellectual property chapter altogether, meaning the NAFTA countries’ obligations would be those under the WTO TRIPS agreement, and eliminating investor-state dispute settlement from NAFTA."
Click here for the letter (pdf)