165517 Advocating for a public health voice in U.S. trade policy: Progress in 2007

Wednesday, November 7, 2007: 1:30 PM

Joseph Brenner, MA , CPATH, San Francisco, CA
Ellen R. Shaffer, PhD MPH , CPATH, San Francisco, CA
Trade agreements have significant implications for public health and health care. They can provide a basis for altering domestic U.S. laws and policies, as well as those of trading partners. In 2005, public health organizations asked that the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to appoint to trade advisory committees representatives of organizations that work to assure equitable public access to affordable health-related services and products, and to promote the health of individuals, communities and populations. They also asked that all meetings of such committees are open to the public.

There is substantial representation from the pharmaceutical, tobacco, alcohol, food processing and health insurance industries on trade advisory committees. Vital issues in current international trade negotiations which are directly related to health include: intellectual property, affecting access to affordable prescription drugs; trade in essential human services such as health care and water, standards for health professional licensing, and alcohol and tobacco protections; standards for the safety of plants and food; and rules on how governments procure goods and services, such as affordable medicines for veterans and seniors.

Several representatives have been appointed since 2005 with interests in tobacco control, access to affordable medicines, and health care services. However, the public health perspective is still in the minority, and transparency in the trade policy process is limited. This session explores the achievements of the campaign for public health representation in trade policy, and milestones ahead.

Learning Objectives:
Participants will be able to discuss: How trade policies influnce U.S, and international measures that protect public health. How corporations use positions on trade advisory committees to shape policies on access to medicines, tobacco control and other measures. The public health campaign to democratize trade policy.

Keywords: Policy/Policy Development, International Public Health

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.