The 11 countries left in the Trans-Pacific Partnership following the withdrawal of the United States are still looking to finalize the deal. One of the changes they are considering, now that the U.S. has left, is to eliminate rules that would require countries to strengthen patent-related protections for prescription drugs. These protections could hugely raise the price of prescription drugs. Patents and related protections can often be equivalent to tariffs of several thousand percent on the protected items.
The push to remove the protectionist rules is apparently coming from Vietnam. Now that the U.S. pharmaceutical industry is no longer at the table, the remaining countries seem willing to go along. If the final deal excludes these rules, it could be a useful precedent for other trade deals.