Trump government and Big Pharma threaten access to HIV medications with new NAFTA deal.

Published 11, Sep, 2017
Author // Guest Authors - Revolving Door

If you live in North America, tell your representative: Commit to vote no on NAFTA corporate power grab!

Trump government and Big Pharma threaten access to HIV medications with new NAFTA deal.

September 8, 2017

The re-negotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is now underway. As these critical discussions continue, the Government of Canada needs to counter the attempts by the Trump administration to ratchet up further the restrictive rules on intellectual property that create even more monopoly profits for Big Pharma at the expense of people who need affordable medicines. The Ottawa Citizen recently published our analysis and recommendations to the federal government on this issue.

Full details aren’t known yet, but Trump and the US Trade Representative have already publicly stated their objectives for NAFTA discussions include securing measures designed to protect the profits of pharmaceutical companies, whether by delaying the entry of lower-cost generics into the market, or weakening regulations and programs that help manage prices.

The federal government must take steps during the re-negotiation of NAFTA to protect access to medicine — both here in Canada and across the world.

Access to medicine is also threatened by the possible expansion in a new NAFTA of what is called “investor-state dispute settlement” (ISDS). As originally negotiated, this mechanism in NAFTA gave substantial new powers to corporations. The ISDS rules in deals like NAFTA allow multinational corporations to sue governments before tribunals of three corporate lawyers. These lawyers can order taxpayers to pay the corporations unlimited sums of money, including for the loss of expected future profits. The ISDS rules have been used time and again to undermine regulations aimed at protecting the public good, including in relation to health and the environment.

Now, Big Pharma is trying to extend these rules in a new NAFTA even further, to include their intellectual property privileges. Instead, these ISDS rules should be removed from a new NAFTA altogether.

How you can help

The Government of Canada must protect Canadians’ access to medicines. The Legal Network has joined with other organizations across North America to call on government representatives, including Members of Parliament, to reject any NAFTA renegotiation or any other agreement that includes ISDS.


About the Author

Guest Authors - Revolving Door

Guest Authors - Revolving Door

The Revolving Door is the place where we publish occasional articles by guest writers. If you would like to submit an article for publication, please contact editor Bob Leahy at