So who is fighting for the right of pharmaceutical companies to sell their wares at their prices, wherever on earth? Why, that same Uncle Sam that companies are avoiding paying taxes to: The Obama administration is negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would expand US free trade rules to eighteen countries around the Pacific rim, as well as a free trade deal with the European Union. In both, the US is pushing for “harmonization” of patent laws—including longer exclusivity for existing patents, limits on the release of drug data, restrictions on how government health care programs can control drug prices—all of which mean higher prices for medicines. It’s no wonder that pharma is the most active lobbyist when it comes to trade talks.
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