In case you missed it, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post editorialized yesterday on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the importance of reaching a trade deal that protects U.S. innovation and economic growth.
While the TPP covers every sector of our economy, America’s patients have one of the biggest stakes in the deal.
That’s because a key item in the TPP is clinical data protection for biologic medicines. Biologics are already used to treat diseases like cancer and rheumatoid arthritis, and many scientists believe biologics could help unlock new treatments for neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.
Any trade deal must protect the significant investment and research and development required to bring biologics to market. That would require 12 years of data protection for biologics, as currently exists in U.S. law.
The U.S. data protection model works. As the Journal states, “[o]f the some 5,600 drugs in the pipeline among TPP nations, some 3,400 are being developed by U.S. companies.” And the data protection term for biologics in U.S. law “enjoys broad bipartisan support, and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R., Utah) and others are right to push U.S. negotiators to insist on a strong standard…. The biologics standard in TPP will be the template for future trade deals, and the U.S. should not casually erode American law in an industry so crucial to future growth and public health.”
Over at the Post, the editors note that, “the United States already pays more than its fair share of the world’s costs for developing and distributing new pharmaceuticals. That’s because only the United States offers drug-makers the ability to recoup the high costs of discovering cures through a combination of strong patent protection and pricing power when dealing with government health-care programs such as Medicare…. [O]n balance it has served the United States, and the world, well, by promoting more innovation than a state-dominated system of research probably would have.“
In closing, the Journal editors lay bare the deal’s importance in sharpening America’s competitive edge: “TPP…would be the first major trade deal to liberalize trade in services and include protections against commercial intellectual-property theft and official expropriation of assets. Such protections are essential to modern industries, from biotech and software to movies and music, that are particular strengths of America’s innovative, knowledge-based economy.”
Any trade deal “has to protect the fruits of innovation in the information economy,” the Journal finishes.
Subscribe to updates here.