Cancer Survivors Protest Big Pharma Giveaways in NAFTA 2.0

The Young Family calls on their Congressman to oppose new provisions in Trump’s NAFTA proposal that lock-in high medicine prices

Cancer survivors and others rallied outside the Binghamton, N.Y. office of Congressman Anthony Brindisi recently urging him to oppose new language in President Trump’s proposed trade pact with Canada and Mexico that would lock-in high medicine prices.

Many Members of Congress have already called on the Trump administration to remove these lengthy monopoly periods of pharmaceutical companies from the proposal, but Rep. Brindisi has thus far stayed silent on the issue.

“I went bankrupt trying to pay for the cancer treatments that saved my father’s life,” said Chris Young, who was unable to pay an $87,000 medical bill for his father’s cancer treatment and lost his job while trying to care for his father.  “New York State needs elected officials who will fight to bring down outrageous healthcare costs.  I’m deeply disappointed that Rep. Brindisi still hasn’t called for the removal of the pharmaceutical giveaways in Trump’s trade deal that would lock-in high medicine prices.”

The Trump administration’s proposed revision of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has new provisions that would grant pharmaceutical corporations special monopoly protections so that they can block competition from generic medicine makers, thus charging consumers in the U.S., Canada and Mexico more.

Of particular concern is the proposal’s lengthy monopoly protections for biologic drugs, the cutting-edge medicines used to treat cancer, heart disease, arthritis and more.  New Yorkers spent an estimated $7,385,699,139 on biologics in 2018, and that number is expected to increase in the years ahead if policymakers aren’t able to reign in the prices that pharmaceutical companies charge consumers and taxpayers alike.

“Legislation currently pending in Congress that would cut the existing monopoly period for cutting-edge medical treatments by years would be a violation of Trump’s new trade pact if it is approved as written.  And that’s the point,” said George Kimball, the New York Director of Citizen Trade Campaign.  “At a time when politicians are finally responding to public anger over sky-high medicine prices, Trump’s trade deal would tie policymakers’ hands on the issue.”

Citizen Trade Campaign, local members of Citizen Action of New York and local unions joined Young and others at the rally. They also handed roughly five hundred postcards and petition signatures from constituents urging Rep. Brindisi to take a stand on the issue.

“We’re calling on Representative Brindisi to resist requests from the pharmaceutical lobby to rubber stamp a trade deal that would limit Congress’ ability to lower medicine prices for decades to come,” said Kimball. “As this issue comes to a head this fall, we hope Rep. Brindisi will choose the health and well being of his constituents of the profits of big corporations.”

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