Nurses Turn up Heat in Fight to #StopFastTrack

that would allow corporate lobbyists and DC bureaucrats to negotiate new international trade agreements that would make lifesaving drugs more expensive, Registered Nurses (RNs) with National Nurses United (NNU) are stepping up pressure on members of Congress in new radio ad campaigns in targeted districts.

The ads, which begin running on local stations today, inform that “right now, our government is negotiating new international trade agreements that will make lifesaving drugs much more expensive—especially ones that show promise in battling cancer, MS and Alzheimer’s disease.”

Jean Ross, RN, and NNU Co-President emphasized why it’s so critical for our elected leaders to vote NO on Fast Track:

“The secretive nature of Fast Track is an affront to democracy and to our national traditions of open and honest public debate. With so much at stake—food safety, the cost of critical medicines, limiting industrial pollution—we urge Congress to listen to our call to stop Fast Track now.

We heard it before. Trust us: This treaty will create jobs and grow the U.S. economy. That was the NAFTA treaty a generation ago. Well, under that treaty, 700,000 jobs were lost or displaced in this country. No wonder they want to negotiate in secret.”

Members of Congress who either support Fast Track authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership or have yet to announce where they stand on the legislation are urged to vote NO in the ads.  This includes Rep. Sam Farr, who represents California’s 20th Congressional district in Monterey County. The ads are also running in districts of Representative Seth Moulton (D-MA 6th District) and Representative Steny Hoyer (D-MD 5th District).

Martha Kuhl, RN, Secretary-Treasurer of NNU, who speaks in the ads, says Fast Track eliminates the ability to amend any aspect of the proposed trade deal. The TPP has been roundly criticized for, among other things, increasing the cost of prescription drugs and reducing access to lifesaving medication.

Furthering concern over public health and safety, a Doctors Without Borders report says:

“…the US government is pushing policies in the TPP that represent the most far-reaching attempt to date to impose aggressive Intellectual Property (IP) standards in a trade agreement with developing countries – policies that further tip the balance towards strong IP regimes favoring commercial interests and away from public health. 

For pharmaceuticals and other health commodities, stronger IP regimes mean extended patent monopolies and delayed generic competition, and that translates into higher prices for people who need medicines. In developing countries, where people rarely have health insurance and must pay for medicines out of pocket, high prices keep lifesaving medicines out of reach and are often a matter of life and death.”

Speaking to the ongoing efforts to hold members of Congress accountable for supporting Fast Track, NNU’s executive director RoseAnn DeMoro said:

“I've never been so proud of the American labor movement and its leader Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO, giving voice and force to working people against multinational corporations.  It is an inspiring moment up against such enormous wealth, political power and false promises.”

To hear the ads, click on the links below: