151205 Bilateral Latinamerican Free Trade Agreements and Access to Medicines: An Analysis of the Process

Tuesday, November 6, 2007: 8:30 AM

Bernardo Useche, PhD student , School of Public Health, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, TX
Nuria Homedes, MD, DrPH , Global Health Program, University of Texas, School of Public Health, El PAso, TX
Antonio Ugalde, PhD , Sociology, University of Texas, Austin, TX
During the last decade the US has signed regional and bilateral trade agreements with different countries. These agreements have been questioned because of their potential negative health consequences. We will examine the negotiation process of bilateral trade agreements between the US and Colombia, and Peru, and the regional agreement with Central America and the Dominican Republic.

Specifically we will look at the process followed in the above agreements in the area of pharmaceuticals. These agreements facilitate the extension of the market exclusivity period for new drugs. Additionally they reduce the ability of countries to benefit from the TRIPS flexibilities (the use parallel imports and issue compulsory licenses) and impose new duties on the regulatory agencies.

There is scarcity of research focusing on the process of negotiation but most people agree that the balance of power between the negotiating parties has been skewed in favor of the US stakeholders. Understanding the process and role played by different stakeholders, including the representatives from the developing nations, is necessary to design strategies to mitigate the negative effects caused by such imbalances. We will also study the power and knowledge asymmetries of the negotiating teams. Stakeholders include groups such as the transnational and local pharmaceutical industries, insurance companies, chambers of commerce and industries, labor unions, social security systems, political parties and NGOs.

Methods: a. Review of available government documents; b. Reports by stakeholders and those invited to observe the negotiations; and c. in-depth interviews with key players.

Learning Objectives:
Describe the process of negotiating bilateral and regional agreements between the US and Latin America. Discuss the role played by the different stakeholders in crafting and negotiating the agreements.

Keywords: Public Policy, Developing Countries

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.