TPP won’t raise medical bill, health minister asserts

Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam says based on the Health Ministry’s projection, medical costs in Malaysia will not rise after the country joins the TPP trade bloc. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam says based on the Health Ministry’s projection, medical costs in Malaysia will not rise after the country joins the TPP trade bloc. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

BATU CAVES, Jan 24 ― The Health Ministry’s projections show that medical costs in Malaysia will not spike after the country joins the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade bloc, Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said today.

The health minister added that its findings will be presented to Parliament during the special TPP sitting scheduled to start Tuesday.

“We have done some projections. Based on projections, there should not be any reason why the medical costs would go up,” he told reporters after officiating Thaipusam celebrations here.

“We will give this explanation to parliament,” he added.

TPP opponents claim the new trade deal contains patent provisions that bar access to cheaper generic medicine, making it prohibitive for Malaysians to receive affordable medical care.

Among key concerns is the introduction of a data exclusivity period for biologics, which has revolutionised the treatment of cancer, HIV/ AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular diseases and autoimmune disorders, among others.

The TPP negotiations, which was also criticised for its secrecy, concluded early last October and was made public in November.

The 12 countries involved, including Malaysia, Vietnam, the US, Mexico, and Japan among others, are given two years to ratify the agreement.

An estimated crowd of 5,000 protesters gathered in the city yesterday protesting the trade deal and demanded lawmakers vote against TPP when it is presented in Parliament Tuesday.

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