153500 Illegitimacy: Domestic Public Health Policymaking in the US-Australia FTA

Monday, November 5, 2007: 2:50 PM

Kevin Outterson, JD, LLM , School of Law, Boston University, Boston, MA
Multinational corporations have long used trade agreements to create legislation which bypasses the normal democratic processes in various countries. In the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA, 2005), global drug companies inserted anti-public health provisions into the agreement which changed Australian law, despite the fact that similar legislation had been rebuffed in Australia's Parliament.

More ominously, the US Government demanded the insertion of language which overrides pending US legislation on importation of cheaper drugs from other countries such as Australia. Unlike the typical situation in which one country requests a legal change in the other, this example presents the spectacle of the US Executive Branch binding itself in the guise of a Free Trade Agreement, and doing so in a way which arguably blocks future Congressional legislation.

This presentation will highlight this and other illegitimate and non-transparent forms of public health policymaking through this particular abuse of Free Trade Agreements.

Learning Objectives:
1. Understand the illegitimate use of Free Trade Agreements to force undemocratic changes in domestic public health policy. 2. Develop tools to identify and build public awareness of these illegitimate provisions. 3. Articulate transparent and legitimate alternative public health goals and objectives.

Keywords: Access to Health Care, Accountability

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.