Money speaks: USTR releases letters from Congress backing PhRMA on exclusive rights biologic test data in TPP | Knowledge Ecology International
"As part of a partial response to FOIA request, USTR has provided KEI with copies of 13 letters sent by members of Congress, from July 27, 2011 to August 8, 2013, on the topic of biologic drug test data provisions in the TPP negotiation. We had obtained several but not all of these letters earlier from a variety of sources, including from PhRMA's web page -- where some had been proudly displayed. (See link below). Were there letters on the other side? Yes, three. (see below). With the FOIA request, we have also obtained the responses to the letters. Most of the 13 letters include multiple signatures from Members of Congress from both parties, such as the 37 US Senators signing a September 12, 2011 letter circulated by Senators Orrin Hatch and John Kerry, or the 40 members of Congress signing a letter to President Obama on July 27, 2011. The letters were provided to KEI as part of a FOIA request we filed last year. We received only two letters from 2013, including a March 22, 2013 letter from Senators Baucus and Hatch to acting USTR Marantis, and an August 8, 2013 letter from Hakeem Jeffries and ten other members of the House of Representatives to the recently confirmed USTR Michael Froman. All of the other letters were from 2011 to 2012, and were letters sent either to then USTR Ron Kirk or to President Obama, and cc'd to Ron Kirk. PhRMA had managed the letters so some were organized by state delegations, such as the letter from Delaware Senators Carper and Coons, the letter from Texas Senators Hutchison and Cornyn, the letter from Washington State Senators Murray and Cantwell, the letter from Oklahoma Senators Inhofe and Coburn, and the letter signed by eight members of the House of Representatives representing Massachusetts. It is doubtful that we have obtained a complete set of letters from Congress on this topic, but this collection is already an impressive illustration of PhRMA's power with both political parties. Note that all consumer groups working on these issues, including AARP, Public Citizen, PIRG, KEI, and several labor unions and State legislators have opposed the 12 year term for biologic test data, and the President's own budget has long called for a rollback in the US law from 12 years to 7 years ..."