TPP-11 Outcomes: Health

In an increasingly affluent South-East Asia, there is growing demand for high quality medical and aged care services. The TPP-11 will support the expansion of Australian health exports across the Asia-Pacific. Outcomes include:

  • TPP-11 will eliminate all remaining duties on medical instruments and devices and Australian exports of medical instruments and devices to TPP-11 Parties, which were valued at approximately $1 billion in 2016-17; 
  • The TPP-11 will also eliminate all remaining duties on Australian pharmaceutical exports which were valued at around $597 million in 2016-17;
  • Commitments from Malaysia, Mexico and Vietnam will give 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) will help ensure Australian manufacturers of pharmaceutical products and medical devices can compete on a more level playing-field with
    state-owned manufacturers in other TPP-11 Parties, such as Vietnam Pharmaceutical Company;
  • New government procurement opportunities to provide health and welfare services in Brunei Darussalam and Malaysia;
  • Commitments from all TPP-11 Parties that will allow Australian suppliers to bid for pharmaceutical and medical equipment government procurement contracts; and
  • Commitments from all TPP-11 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 will improve the information available to importers and exporters and reduce unnecessary delays in approvals, improving standard-setting in TPP-11 countries for these industries.  Australia's total exports to TPP-11 countries for these three industries were worth nearly $1.6 billion in 2016-17. Australia's ability to set requirements and standards, including for testing and certification, will not be affected. 

At Home

The TPP-11 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 TPP-11 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 TPP-11 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.

TPP-11 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 TPP-11. 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 TPP-11 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.



Last Updated: 8 March 2018