A study carried out by the London School of Economics and Political Science has assessed the potential impact of the EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) on public health and health systems, and concluded there is ‘very limited evidence of direct potential health benefits’.
TTIP negotiations are ongoing, but the study – carried out with a grant from health organisations including the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) and the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) – highlights potential concerns relating to the possible inclusion of investor protection provisions. It notes that the so-called investor-state dispute settlement may ‘negatively impact on the ability of government to regulate for public health improvement’.
The report highlights that EU negotiators have confirmed the possibility of exempting publicly run health services from TTIP. However, it says that this will depend on individual member states making an explicit decision whether to include or exclude their national health services. The study notes: 'at member state level the UK is one country where evidence suggests that the government may not seek to exclude all of its health services.'
Following the release of the study, RCP registrar Dr Andrew Goddard said:
The TTIP is a very complex issue which has caused much debate in the medical press. This report is a remarkably easy read and covers the key issues well.
Despite the theoretical advantages such agreements may give the UK economy, the RCP currently has little confidence that the TTIP will translate into significant benefits to the NHS and the potential risks are substantial.
The full report is available to read on the EPHA website.