....a very interesting article that looks at the patent prior to TPP and at some of the forces that were behind that decidedly undemocratic adventure ....
....the article is called How Corporations Killed Medicine
. and the author is not kidding...
"“Letters patent,” meaning open letters, were issued in 14th century England to induce foreign craftsmen to relocate there. Attempts to coordinate global intellectual property rules led to the 1883 Paris Convention and the 1886 Berne Convention, and eventually to the creation of the United Nations’ World Intellectual Property Organization in 1967. But nations who signed on to those agreements retained the ability to determine the length of patents and what products would be covered. For many nations, that flexibility meant excluding medicines from patent protection. For example, Germany’s patent law of 1877 labeled medicines as “essential goods,” along with food and chemicals, and prohibited any attempts to patent them
In the middle of the 20th century, several post-colonial nations adopted similar laws. India’s patent law extended only to the processes for creating medicines, not the drugs themselves. The law opened the door for Indian pharmaceutical manufacturers to reverse-engineer patented drugs and then devise different, cheaper production methods. India soon became known as “the pharmacy of the developing world.” Brazil, Mexico, and other Central and South American countries also adopted limits on the patentability of medicines.European countries like Italy and Sweden didn’t grant pharmaceutical patents until the 1970s, and Spain refused to do so until 1992
. Even when medicine patents were given, many nations granted liberal access to compulsory licenses for patented drugs, meaning that generic manufacturers were free to make the drugs and pay a royalty to the patent holders. During the period between 1962 and 1992, Canada granted 613 licenses to import or manufacture pharmaceutical products.
As commerce became increasingly global, this state of affairs deeply concerned pharmaceutical companies. Over time, an industry that once competed on the basis of manufacturing innovation and price had come to rely on the profits of patent monopolies
. At one time in the mid-20th century, for example, Pfizer drew a full 33 percent of its global sales from just two patented drugs. So — as extensively chronicled in Peter Drahos’ and John Braithwaite’s 2002 book, Information Feudalism: Who Owns the Knowledge Economy? — Pfizer took the lead in an ambitious campaign to create a global system of intellectual property protection: an enclosure of essential medicines."
"But there was little in the way of binding international law to back up that position. So the industry pushed directly for the U.S. government to make intellectual property protection a priority in all trade negotiations. Of course, inserting monopoly patent rights into trade agreements runs counter to those agreements’ stated purpose of dismantling barriers to global competition.
Yet the pharmaceutical industry, reliably at the top of the list in both lobbying expenditures and political campaign contributionsin the United States, quickly found willing partners on Capitol Hill and in the White House. The U.S. soon adopted intellectual property protection as a litmus test for its trade partners."
....and...."In fact, a decade ago, U.S. economist Dean Baker crunched the numbers and estimated that the U.S. could save over $140 billion a year if its health systems could provide medicines without the artificial mark-up imposed by monopoly patents.
That money could fund the replacement of all private industry research and development several times over, while still leaving billions of dollars in remaining public benefit. A significant source of those savings derives from eliminating the for-profit pharmaceutical companies’ expenses on marketing, a cost that exceeds their investment in research and development. As it happens, there are more efficient uses of resources than funding television ads for erectile dysfunction drugs."http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/02/09/how-corporations-killed-medicine/
....and this situation has produced an economic situation that makes the medical industrial complex among the most profitable enterprises of all time....see below its quite astonishing actually....in fact, Martin Shkreli, the recently disgraced drug baron is not an outlier here he is more or less the norm, he just didn't have as much political cover....http://www.bbc.com/news/business-28212223