Blog, 306 words

Gouging the Sick

This so-called "liberal" trade and investment treaty is a prescription for drugmaker profiteering.

Jim Hightower

Words can be discombobulating, especially when people twist them to fit concepts that mean the exact opposite of what you think is being said.

Consider the current debate in Washington over the Trans-Pacific Partnership — a controversial trade and investment pact between the United States and nearly a dozen Pacific Rim countries.

This secretly negotiated deal is the exact opposite of a “liberal” reform. It hands a major portion of our people’s democratic sovereignty to giant multinational corporations.

Yet, lawmakers and pundits fronting for the corporations have disingenuously dubbed this a “liberalization” of global policies.

I was born at night, but it wasn’t last night.

Women and the TPP

Caelie_Frampton/Flickr

For an example of the reactionary reality, look at a couple of little favors this deal would do for Big Pharma.

First, it would extend the number of years that a pharmaceutical giant can keep a patent on its brand-name drugs. Not only would this artificially dump more monopoly profits into the coffers of drugmakers, it would simultaneously postpone competition from the makers of cheaper generic drugs — an especially dangerous delay for low-income people who are ill.

A second provision would restrict public regulation of drug prices by any of the 12 countries that are forging the accord. This would nix the people’s sovereign right to remedy price gouging by corporate profiteers that hold monopolies on life-saving medicines.

The folks pushing this snake oil assert that we should not bother our little heads with worry about its details.

But it’s filled with gotchas like these gifts to Big Pharma. They have nothing to do with trade — and everything to do with global elites secretively, deceitfully, and immorally agreeing among themselves to steal power from us.

Don’t just worry about this problematic pact, fight it. Get the lowdown on how at www.StopTPP.org.

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OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. He’s also editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower LowdownOtherWords.org.