AFTINET | 20 December 2016
Report shows trade agreements have boosted medicine and copyright monopolies
The Productivity Commission Final Report on Australia’s intellectual property policy shows how it has been constrained by trade agreements. Global pharmaceutical companies have successfully lobbied for longer monopolies in trade agreements which have delayed the availability of cheaper medicines, resulting in higher prices.
The report criticises a ‘more is better mind set’ and poor consultation and transparency resulting in agreements which typically involve trade-offs, in which the government has capitulated too readily, resulting in longer monopolies, which are against Australia’s interests (p26).
The report makes similar points about stronger monopolies for copyright holders, which have attracted more media attention.
The report recommends greater use of independent and public reviews and more effective consultation in treaty making processes.
It also makes the broader point that intellectual property policy on medicines and other areas should be decided through open public and parliamentary debate based on solid evidence, rather than secretly traded off behind closed doors.