Today at Round 8 of the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations in Chicago, IL, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) issued a white paper outlining a new strategic initiative entitled “Trade Enhancing Access to Medicines (TEAM).” TEAM is designed to deploy the tools of trade policy to promote trade and reduce obstacles to access to both innovative and generic medicines, while supporting the innovation that is vital to developing new medicines and achieving other medical breakthroughs.

“A cornerstone of the Obama Administration’s global public health strategy has been to focus aid on strengthening entire health systems in developing countries in order to improve public health, including improved access to medicines,” said Ariel Pablos-Mendez, Assistant Administrator for Global Health, U.S. Agency for International Development. “Today’s announcement by the United States Trade Representative confirms the role of trade policy in the Administration’s broader efforts.”

The white paper describes how, under the TEAM approach, the United States proposes to work with partners Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam to achieve the following goals in a TPP agreement:

• Expedite access to innovative and generic medicines through a “TPP access window”
• Enhance legal certainty for manufacturers of generic medicines
• Eliminate tariffs on medicines
• Reduce customs obstacles to medicines
• Curb trade in counterfeit medicines
• Reduce internal barriers to distribution of medicines
• Promote transparency and procedural fairness
• Minimize unnecessary regulatory barriers
• Reaffirm TPP Parties’ commitment to the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health

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