In a letter given to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer today, 102 members of the House of Representatives expressed strong concern that the pharmaceutical provisions included in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) – NAFTA 2.0 – could increase prices for medicines in the United States, while limiting the ability of Congress to lessen pharmaceutical monopoly rights. This letter echoes similar concerns included in a May 3 letter from 21 Democratic members of the House Ways and Means Committee and a June 26 letter from 27 freshman House Democrats.
As important as these letters are, fixing USCMA’s pharmaceutical provisions also should be a priority for the Trump administration. As the White House and HHS search for an answer to the rising costs of pharmaceuticals in the United States, enacting USMCA with its current provisions would work against the Administration’s larger goal of drug price reductions.
An opportunity to resolve this issue already exists – the working groups created by House Democrats to negotiate directly with USTR to address shortcomings in USMCA’s pharmaceutical and other provisions. It is great to see that meetings between these working groups and USTR are occurring, but real progress is needed. Now is the time to fix these issues, so that the agreement can receive congressional approval this fall.
- May 3, 2019 House Ways and Means Committee – Democrat Letter
- June 26, 2019 Democratic Freshman Letter
- July 11, 2019 Democratic Member Letter