Trade ministers from 12 nations are spending a last day trying to finalise the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deal. Paul Chapman reports.
The trade ministers of the 12 nations struggling to finalise the Trans-Pacific Partnership gather in Hawaii for a group photo. They're still trying to iron out the remaining obstacles to signing the free trade deal. Those obstacles include a major divide over how long drugs makers can have a monopoly on new medications. The U.S. wants 12-year patent protection, others want five years before such medication can be generically produced. Consumer advocacy group Public Citizen's Access to Medicines Program says lives are at stake. (SOUNDBITE)(English) PETER MAYBADUK, DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC CITIZEN'S ACCESS TO MEDICINES PROGRAM SAYING: "This is all about the pharmaceutical industry and unfortunately the U.S. government trying to make things worse for people so it's really just a question about how much worse, and every year, every extra additional year of monopoly costs people their health and costs our health systems billions of dollars." The proposed TPP deal would cut trade barriers and set common standards from workers rights to copyright for 40 per cent of the world economy.