Next month’s visit of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Washington is a chance to strengthen a vital trade and investment partnership and to resolve problems left over by Canada’s previous government. Addressing a series of misguided Canadian court decisions that are harming patients and threatening jobs, growth and innovation on both sides of the border must be high on the agenda.
Based on a novel legal theory used nowhere else in the world, Canadian courts have revoked 24 patents on 20 innovative medicines taken by millions of people suffering from cancer, osteoporosis, diabetic nerve pain and other serious conditions. That legal theory – known as the “promise doctrine” – confounds the time-tested way innovators turn basic research into new treatments and cures. It arbitrarily requires information at the time a patent is filed that typically can only be shown later through clinical trials.
Related: PhRMA takes the annual opportunity to submit comments to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) Special 301 Report– a regular review of trade barriers that exist with U.S. trading partners.
Canadian court actions are harming incentives for investment in new treatments and cures for patients, including for conditions such as Alzheimer’s that do not yet have effective therapies. They are threatening the competiveness of a Canadian economy that is fast falling behind the curve. Since the “promise doctrine” was introduced in 2005, Canada has dropped seven places on the Global Competitiveness Index – behind countries like the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia and Qatar. Research and development spending in Canada has declined by more than 30 percent.To urge timely action to bring Canada’s patent system back in line with global rules and norms, we launched a new initiative today called Patents Protect. Protect Patents. Canada’s new government has an opportunity to fix the broken “promise doctrine” and promote the further growth of its own innovative industries. Now is the time to act.
For more information, visit Patents Protect. Protect Patents.
Recommended read: Canada's chance to reform its approach to innovation
Jay Taylor Jay Taylor is Vice President of International Advocacy at PhRMA. Prior to Joining PhRMA, Jay was a partner at the international law firm, McDermott, Will & Emery, where he specialized in international trade policy, export controls and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) matters. Previously, Jay served as Associate General Counsel at the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), where he managed and litigated numerous international trade disputes, and drafted and negotiated several free trade agreements. Mr. Taylor received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University, and a law degree from Tulane University.