Malaysian government officials and civil society have recently spoken out against the TRIPS-Plus provisions in the Trans Pacific Partnership. Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai recently told the Sun that “We are against the patent extension” that will lead to delayed generic competition, and therefore less affordable medicines for the public. Edward Low from the Positive Malaysian Treatment Access & Advocacy Group (MTAAG+) told Bloomberg that the agreement is “not good for the poor countries.”
MTAAG+ had previously signed onto a joint civil society statement with other Malaysian groups warning that expanded scope of patentability, patent extensions, patent linkage, the elimination of safeguards against patent abuse, the presumption of patent validity, data exclusivity, and stricter border measures would block generic competition. The resulting “deprivation of affordable medicines will result in increased burden of disease, increased morbidity, and indirectly, productivity and human resources losses that will affect the economy of the nation.”
In the coming weeks, USTR staff will travel to Malaysia and other countries to discuss a way forward on the seemingly deadlocked negotiations surrounding intellectual property and access to medicines.