Trade and Health Office
Emily Bleimund, JD, MA
Director, Trade and Health Office
Office of Global Affairs
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Phone: (202) 690-6174, (202)-260-0399
OGA’s Trade and Health Office provides expertise to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on health-related trade issues and represents HHS in the development of U.S. trade policy. The intersection of global health and international trade is a growing area, with important implications for patients and consumers around the world. We work to ensure that public health is represented in trade discussions on a global level, including at the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the World Health Organization (WHO), in order to create a safer, healthier world.
What We Do: Examples of Our Work
The Trade and Health Office portfolio includes:
Trade and Investment Agreements
The Trade and Health Office has been actively involved in the negotiation of free trade agreements such as the 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the proposed Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) between the U.S. and the European Union. These types of agreements include various issues that can impact public health, such as pharmaceutical and medical device regulation, intellectual property, food safety, tobacco control, and pharmaceutical pricing and reimbursement, investment, and intellectual property, among others. The Office helps to ensure that U.S. negotiating positions are in line with U.S. policies, and do not conflict with domestic laws or practices. It also helps to develop U.S positions in disputes arising from international trade and investment agreements, such as the Apotex Inc. v. United States and Eli Lilly and Co. v. Government of Canada NAFTA disputes.
Intellectual Property Issues
The Trade and Health Office provides guidance on health-related intellectual property issues. For example, the office represents HHS on the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Special 301 subcommittee, which researches and drafts the annual Special 301 Report – a report that lists the countries that do not offer sufficient protection of intellectual property (IP) or market access for IP-intensive industries. We also work closely with USTR and other U.S. agencies on bilateral pharmaceutical-related IP issues, and provide guidance within HHS and the U.S. government on issues related to compulsory licensing, patentability standards, and multilateral discussions and reports on IP and access to medicines.
Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Regulation and Pricing
The Trade and Health Office provides guidance on pharmaceutical and medical devices regulatory issues, such as marketing approval policies, as well as pricing and reimbursement policies. The Office also closely follows pharmaceutical pricing discussions in international organizations, including the WHO, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and others.
Nutrition and Tobacco Control
The Trade and Health Office provides guidance on trade-related aspects of nutrition and tobacco control policies, such as marketing, labeling, packaging, and other regulatory policies. The Office also closely follows international meetings on these issues, and coordinates with the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in order to ensure global and domestic messages are aligned.