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Submission to the USTR for the 2011 Special 301 Report

SUMMARY:  We write to oppose the use of the Special 301 Report to discipline effective and non-discriminatory pharmaceutical pricing policies. This shift, disturbing on its face, is all the more concerning because it is evidently part of a broader effort by USTR to promote a new international trade framework to restrict domestic regulatory responses to excessive pricing by monopoly pharmaceutical suppliers. This agenda is not authorized by any statute or administrative directive, and the agenda is incredibly unwise at a time when the U.S. is struggling to find ways to restrain its own health costs. To the extent there are best practices in the U.S., they are at the state governmental level and they follow the same basic policies and principles of foreign countries that USTR seeks to discipline. Reciprocal enforcement of USTR standards to state programs would obliterate the effectiveness of Medicaid pricing programs and threaten the administration's policy goal of reducing the cost of healthcare in this country.

States have repeatedly contacted federal officials opposing this radical agenda, as will be further described below. In this Special 301 submission, State representatives appeal to the Obama administration to change course and halt the use of trade pressure or negotiations to internationally regulate domestic drug pricing programs that do not violate any World Trade Organization rule.

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