News Release

Obama’s SOTU Push for TPP — a “Death Sentence”

BN-KO404_DRUGTR_P_20150930170332The Hill reports in “Obama, Democrats at odds before State of the Union address” that “a group of House Democrats on Monday held a press conference introducing the State of the Union … by condemning the TPP, a mammoth trade deal among 12 Pacific Rim countries that would encompass as much as 40 percent of the world’s economy.”

ZAHARA HECKSCHER, BookZahara at gmail.com,@ZaharaHeckscher
Heckscher is a breast cancer patient, writer and educator who lives in Washington, D.C. She spoke out at the Monday TPP news conference on Capitol Hill: “In 2008, I received a devastating diagnosis: invasive breast cancer. My son had just turned three. But today, even though my cancer is considered advanced, and my current treatment includes chemotherapy, I am thriving. My son is now 10 and I am happy to be a soccer mom as well as a writer and educator.

“I am alive and thriving today because I have had access to the latest medicines for breast cancer, including monoclonal antibodies, known as biological medicines.

“Sadly, I know all too well what cancer can mean without access to new treatments. My mother died of breast cancer in 1976, less than one year after her diagnosis, just days before my 12th birthday.

“That is why I was arrested at the TPP negotiations in Atlanta, and why I am here today to urge Congress to reject the TPP.

“According to Doctors Without Borders, the TPP will ‘go down in history as the worst-ever trade agreement for access to medicines…It’s bad for people needing access to medicines worldwide, including in the U.S.’

“How does the TPP prevent access to medicines? Organizations including like Doctors without Borders, Public Citizen, and Oxfam have done the detailed technical analysis, but the bottom line is this:

* “First of all, in the U.S. , if passed, the TPP will lock in policies that will keep prices obscenely high.

* “The TPP could tie policymakers’ hands by locking in the inability of our government to negotiate reasonable prescription prices in any future Medicare Part D reform.

* “The TPP would prevent the reduction of extra-long monopolies for biologic medicines — some of which cost over $100,000 per year — and delay the timely development of affordable, life-saving biosimilars.

* “The TPP would lock in perverse incentives that encourage pharmaceutical companies to ‘evergreen’ profits, extending monopolies for making minor modifications to existing medicines rather than developing new medicines.

* “In addition, efforts to reform our system and reduce medical costs in the future could be challenged outside our court system in unaccountable trade tribunals.”

See Heckscher’s full statement. She has a BA in Biology from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn., and an MA in International Development from American University.