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'TPP 11' to freeze drug data protection demanded by US

Remaining members thrashing out details to revive trade pact

The chief TPP negotiator for Japan, Kazuyoshi Umemoto, at left, speaks at a meeting Monday in Australia.   © Reuters

SYDNEY -- With the U.S. now out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the remaining 11 members have effectively agreed to suspend rules involving pharmaceutical date protection sought by Washington as they try to revive the regional trade pact.

During a three-day meeting here through Wednesday, the countries' top TPP negotiators unanimously supported suspending a clause on data exclusivity -- a rule that prevents competing versions of a new drug from entering the market for a certain period of time. The U.S. had secured an eight-year window under the original trade deal, which would enormously benefit major pharmaceutical companies based there.

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