Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Pharma-driven Trans-Pacific Trade Talks veiled in Secrecy that will violate U.S. Constitution



Publisher’s Note:  This is the first of what will be a series of articles on the continued attempts by Pharma and its front groups to not only protect the ‘safe haven’ provided by the U.S.by allowing Pharma to  charge the highest prescription medicine prices among Industrialized Nations, but to extend their predatory pricing practices to other countries, not by innovation, but by being granted quasi-governmental  authority that would undermine the legitimate functions of governments around the world.
 
There are those who are speculating if the President is as indebted to Pharma interests as he was when, during the debate over the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), the Administration granted Pharma and its trade group,, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), unprecedented access to behind-closed-doors negotiations free of public oversight in the shaping of the legislation to avoid the special-interest industry group from opposing what the President viewed as his legacy legislation with a ‘Harry and Louise’-type campaign that sidelined Hillarycare during the Clinton Administration.

My response:  “You’ve got to be kidding....”

The latest incarnation of the President’s continued paying off his continued indebtedness to Pharma is evidenced by the Pharma-driven Trans-Pacific Partnership Treaty Negotiations, currently progressing in secret talks, free of Congressional oversight   or involvement.


The following is from the Senate website page clearly laying out the Constitutional responsibility and authority: 

The Constitution gives to the Senate the sole power to approve, by a two-thirds vote, treaties negotiated by the executive branch. The Senate does not ratify treaties. Instead, the Senate takes up a resolution of ratification, by which the Senate formally gives its advice and consent, empowering the president to proceed with ratification...”

As to the link to Obamacare, one only need examine the role of outgoing Senator Max Baucus, Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, and the driving legislative force in the Senate behind Obamacare.

The soon-retiring from the Senate but soon-to-be Ambassador to China, Senator Baucus has introduced legislation to allow Fast Track authority in line with the Administration’s wishes.  Unfortunately, he was also joined by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), in what to the Administration is proof-positive of Bi-Partisan ‘support’.

It should be noted that Senator Hatch was also a supporter of the ill-advised Protect  Intellectual Property Act  (PIPA), which was also largely Pharma-driven as part of its never-ended attempt to deny Americans the right to safe, affordable prescription medicines from licensed, registered pharmacies in countries outside the U.S., with standards of safety and efficacy that meet or exceed those of the U.S.

He withdrew his support of the legislation after a huge public outcry, appealing for a reasonable solution to the issue of intellectual theft (which, of course, PIPA was not).

The Senator’s support of the Trans-Pacific talks indicate that he is still struggling with an understanding of reasonable solutions.

To be fair to the Senator, much of the problem involving determining the ‘reasonableness’ of such initiatives when Pharma is involved is that it cleverly masks its intentions through what I have described as ‘disingenuous connectivity’ by wrapping them with other issues ranging from health care to patent protection to international trade to even national security (at least when it comes to personal importation of prescription medicines).

The Trans-Pacific negotiations are filled with abuses. One of the best exposes of the problems with the negotiations that I have seen comes from TechRights.org.

But, lest anyone should think that the growing opposition to the Pacific Trade agreement is being directed by the President’s opponents, the following segment of the Ed Schultz Show on MSNBC, which no one will ever accuse of anything less than usually fawning over the Administration and the President, shows that even supporters are beginning to understand the ramifications of thispower grab by Pharma to claim extraordinary powers on the basis vagueness and secrecy.

The facts are self-evident:
a.      The President continues to meet his obligations to Pharma, in what is a wide-sweeping abuse of Constitutional authority that will have negative ramifications far beyond the end of his Administration;
b.      Pharma remains active on many fronts to protect its ‘safe haven’ of making the prices for vital prescription medicines the highest in the industrialized world;
c.       If successful in forcing the terms of the Trans-Pacific negotiations upon the Congress, a major erosion of Constitutional authority will occur, and, as was the case in PIPA and the ill-named Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) (yet another Pharma-driven bill), there will be unintended consequences that will affect American’s access to vital medicines by granting to Pharma extraordinary, quasi-governmental authority that could restrict access to vital medicnes, but also to further erode the already-declining lack of confidence in Congress,  and trust of the American people that they are represented by a government of and for the people’s health, happiness and well-being, rather than special interests.