Diverse Coalition Says USMCA Violates U.S. Law, Protects Drug Monopolies and Keeps Price of Medicine High, Hurting Patients and American Businesses
WASHINGTON, DC (November 5, 2018)–Today the Association for Accessible Medicines (AAM), together with 28 groups representing patients, taxpayers, workers and health care groups, submitted letters to U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar and congressional leadership expressing concern that the U.S. Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), if left in its current form, will keep drug prices high and out of reach of Americans. The letter states that the draft agreement contains provisions that are inconsistent with U.S. law and includes monopoly protections and deterrents to competition that will slow the development of more affordable biosimilar medicines, hurt generic drug competition and disrupt the critical balance between access and medical innovation in the health care market.
Co-signers include AFL-CIO, AARP, Kaiser Permanente, American College of Physicians, American Federation of Teachers, FreedomWorks, Patients for Affordable Drugs and SEIU.
“Affordable, high-quality health care, including affordable prescription drugs, are a top priority for America's working families,” says AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka. “The rules proposed in the new NAFTA (USMCA) would keep drug prices high by tying our hands and blocking reform. Workers looking for relief from outsourcing must not be asked to trade-off their families' health in exchange for new trade rules. Working people need trade rules that protect their wages, their rights on the job, and their access to affordable medicines."
“We are disheartened to see that the USMCA reduces competition in the pharmaceutical industry,” says FreedomWorks Vice President of Legislative Affairs Jason Pye. “Trade agreements should open up commerce across the globe to allow better, more efficient goods and services to reach consumers everywhere. This agreement instead preserves brand pharmaceutical monopolies and insulates them from competition for years to come. This is neither in the spirit of free trade nor the free market. We hope the administration will address these deficiencies.”
“We look forward to working with the Administration and Congress to foster a free, fair and balanced trade agreement with Mexico and Canada that ensures an adequate balance between access to affordable medicines and support for pharmaceutical innovation,” says AAM President and CEO Chip Davis.
The letter is available at MedsForAmerica.org at http://bit.ly/USTR-USMCA-letter. The MedsforAmerica.org website provides patients with an opportunity to contact their members of Congress to encourage more prescription drug competition in USMCA to bring down high prices.
AAM is driven by the belief that access to safe, quality, effective medicine has a tremendous impact on a person’s life and the world around them. Generic and biosimilar medicines improve people’s lives, improving society and the economy in turn. AAM represents the manufacturers and distributors of finished generic pharmaceuticals and biosimilars, manufacturers and distributors of bulk pharmaceutical chemicals, and suppliers of other goods and services to the generic industry. Generic pharmaceuticals are 90 percent of prescriptions dispensed in the U.S. but only 23 percent of total drug spending.
About the Biosimilars Council
The Biosimilars Council, a division of the Association for Accessible Medicines (AAM), works to ensure a positive environment for patient access to biosimilar medicines. The Biosimilars Council is a leading source for information about the safety and efficacy of more affordable alternatives to costly brand biologic medicines. Areas of focus include public and health expert education, strategic partnerships, government affairs, legal affairs and regulatory policy. More information is available at www.biosimilarscouncil.org.