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Prime Minister John Howard has denied there is a secret understanding with the United States over the free trade agreement (FTA).
Mr Howard has reluctantly accepted Labor's amendments to the FTA to secure passage of the legislation through Parliament, despite his concerns they are at odds with the "spirit" of the FTA and could jeopardise the deal.
Opposition Leader Mark Latham had demanded Mr Howard explain that.
Australia's subsidised medicines system, known as the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), is regarded as the "gold standard" of its type in the world.
Under the PBS, the price of selected prescription medicines is kept down and subsidised so that Australians can buy them at a fraction of the price paid by Americans.
However, the Washington-based Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association said during the free trade negotiations that Australia had "anti-competitive prices" under the PBS and it saw the FTA as a means to dismantle that.