The Obama administration is disputing speculation that the drug patent protections being called for in a Transpacific trade deal would drive up medicine costs and effectively reduce the quality of healthcare in underprivileged populations across the globe.
According to Reuters, the U.S. and eight other countries are engaged in the latest round of talks related to the proposed Transpacific Partnership Pact. The free trade agreement would be a boon to several struggling economies, but groups such as Doctors Without Borders are concerned that the terms may ultimately make life-saving medicines too costly for several regional populations.
U.S. officials are insisting that stronger drug patent protection is a critical part of the legislation, and cost concerns have been overstated.
"The Obama administration is coordinating and deploying trade policy tools to help reduce potential barriers to access to medicines, while also supporting innovation and the development of new medicines by the U.S. pharmaceutical and other health industries," said government spokesmen in a release obtained by the news source.
According to the Hill, bipartisan support has already emerged for the preservation of strong IP standards. Senators such as Republican Orrin Hatch and Democrat John Kerry have asserted that the retention of such policies will be crucial to continued growth and innovation within the national economy.