Trade agreements have a profound impact on health. Important public policy areas such as health services, patents for medicines and even medical qualifications are increasingly being marketised and brought into the trade agenda. Provisions in trade deals such as those on intellectual property, public service provision, investment, border taxation and regulations and standards have both direct and indirect implications for health outcomes. These provisions can make it harder for people to access medicines and good-quality health services, and for governments to regulate to improve health outcomes or raise revenues to fund health programmes.
This briefing outlines the main risks that trade policy poses to health, and then sets out the alternatives that could help avoid these risks and ensure that trade doesn’t undermine health justice.