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CPTPP outcomes: Health

In an increasingly affluent South-East Asia, there is growing demand for high quality medical and aged care services. The CPTPP supports the expansion of Australian health exports across the Asia-Pacific. Outcomes include:

  • The CPTPP eliminates all remaining duties on medical instruments and devices; Australian exports of these items to CPTPP Parties were valued at approximately $736 million in 2017;
  • The CPTPP also eliminates all remaining duties on Australian pharmaceutical exports which were valued at around $633 million in 2017;
  • Commitments from Malaysia, Mexico and Vietnam gives Australian providers of private health and allied health services greater certainty regarding access and operating conditions in these markets;
  • Disciplines on State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) ensures Australian manufacturers of pharmaceutical products and medical devices can compete on a more level playing-field with state-owned manufacturers in other CPTPP Parties, such as Vietnam Pharmaceutical Company;
  • New government procurement opportunities to provide health and welfare services in Brunei Darussalam and Malaysia;
  • Commitments from all CPTPP Parties that allow Australian suppliers to bid for pharmaceutical and medical equipment government procurement contracts; and
  • Commitments from all CPTPP Parties in relation to government purchasing by the health department or ministry, including the purchasing undertaken by all public hospitals in Malaysia and 34 hospitals operating as SOEs in Vietnam.

In addition, the Technical Barriers to Trade Annexes on Pharmaceutical Products, Medical Devices and Cosmetics improves the information available to importers and exporters and reduce unnecessary delays in approvals, improving standard-setting in CPTPP countries for these industries. Australia's total exports to CPTPP countries for these three industries were worth nearly $1.4 billion in 2017. Australia's ability to set requirements and standards, including for testing and certification, will not be affected.

At home

The CPTPP is consistent with Australia's existing health laws and policies. As a result, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme will not be adversely impacted.

Intellectual property

The CPTPP Intellectual Property Chapter strikes a balance between promoting medical innovation and investment, and supporting timely access to affordable medicines. It is consistent with Australia's existing health and intellectual property laws and policies, including provisions protecting patents and regulatory data associated with pharmaceutical products. It will not require any changes to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. A number of patent and pharmaceutical-related provisions from the original TPP agreement have been suspended as part of the CPTPP outcome. For more information, see: FAQs: Suspensions

Access to medicines in developing countries

The Intellectual Property Chapter includes specific provisions that recognise challenges facing developing countries.

The Chapter preserves flexibilities contained in the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and the TRIPS Protocol. This includes compulsory licensing of patents.

CPTPP countries also affirm their commitment to the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health, which supports least developed and developing countries address public health problems through enhanced access to medicines where they face insufficient or no manufacturing capacities in the pharmaceutical sector.

Developing countries will benefit from transition mechanisms to help them implement pharmaceutical intellectual property obligations in the CPTPP. These are based on capacity and development factors, and will provide adequate and appropriate transition periods for countries that need them.

Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS)

The CPTPP ISDS mechanism includes a suite of provisions protecting the Australian Government's ability to regulate for public health and other public interest objectives.

For more information, refer to: Outcomes: Investment and FAQs: ISDS

Fact sheet last update: January 2019

Last Updated: 4 February 2019
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