03 February 2016

The New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA) is repeating its call for an independent Health Impact Assessment of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement (TPPA).

“As strong advocates for the profession and for our patients, we supported the call last year by a number of other health sector organisations for an independent assessment of the impact of the TPPA on health,” says NZMA Chair Dr Stephen Child.

“We need a clear understanding of the possible effects of the TPPA on current and future policy settings and directions.

“We must also ensure our ability to achieve legitimate public policy objectives—such as the protection of public health, safety and the environment—is protected. To do this we must have an independent assessment focused on these aspects. 

“Much of the discussion around the TPPA has been on its economic value for the country. While we accept there might be financial benefits for the country, the NZMA believes wider issues need to be considered, including affordable access to medicines, and public health policies especially around tobacco and alcohol control.

“Last week’s release of the National Interest Analysis does not fully allay our concerns. Analysis focusing on the effects on health—including issues such as climate change—is still needed.”