Research Handbook on Transnational Corporations
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Research Handbook on Transnational Corporations

Edited by Alice de Jonge and Roman Tomasic

Transnational corporations (TNCs) have moved to the forefront of regulatory governance both within states and in the international arena. The Research Handbook on Transnational Corporations provides expert background commentary and up-to-date insights into regulatory frameworks impacting on TNCs at global, industry and national levels. Written by global experts in their field, this unique collection of essays provides in-depth understanding of how the forces of globalisation affect the world’s largest corporations, and how those corporations, in turn, shape globalisation.
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Chapter 8: How the transnational pharmaceutical industry pursues its interests through international trade and investment agreements: a case study of the Trans Pacific Partnership

Deborah Gleeson, Pat Neuwelt, Erik Monasterio and Ruth Lopert


Within the global market, the research-based pharmaceutical industry engages in a range of well-documented profit-maximising strategies. Key among them is the pursuit of longer and broader monopolies through lobbying for expanded intellectual property (IP) rights, both within individual nation states and via international trade and investment agreements. This chapter traces the attempts of the US pharmaceutical industry to expand IP protections and influence pharmaceutical coverage programs through trade agreements, with a particular focus on the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). Draft texts leaked prior to the conclusion of the negotiations demonstrate the United States’ pursuit of the industry’s interests. The US-based pharmaceutical industry used a number of avenues to influence the negotiations, including representation on trade advisory committees, interaction with trade officials, and intense political lobbying. A range of rhetorical devices and discursive flourishes were employed to persuade policy-makers to adopt the industry’s perspective, while masking its broader strategic objectives. Despite strong public criticism and resistance from other TPP countries, many elements of the US proposals remained in the TPP’s final text, indicating that the industry’s strategies were successful to some degree.

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