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IP Explained: What they are saying on the importance of strong intellectual property protections

Tom Wilbur   |     April 24, 2019   |   SHARE THIS

The U.S. biopharmaceutical industry depends on predictable and reliable intellectual property (IP) protections to maintain its role as the global leader in biopharmaceutical innovation. Strong and reliable IP protections promote innovations and pave the way for the development of new medicines that can save millions of lives, reduce the need for other health care services and foster economic growth by equipping innovators with the tools they need to bring treatments to patients who need them most.

The importance of strong IP protections has recently drawn notable attention from stakeholders and policymakers from both sides of the aisle. Here is a closer look at what they are saying:

  • “There’s a tremendous amount of risk in our industry and that risk translates into less than 10 percent of the original ideas ever translating into an approved product. With that kind of attrition, it takes a lot of fortitude and commitment to continue to innovate … You have to keep patients in mind, but you also have to incentivize the executives who make the difficult decisions to support a program knowing there’s a high likelihood it won’t succeed.” – Abbie Celniker, Partner, Third Rock Ventures (Atlantic State of Care: Innovation and Access)
  • “[IP] systems are designed in large part to provide adequate incentives for creators and inventors to invest in the production of novel ideas and content—while at the same time encouraging beneficial diffusion of knowledge … As we move ever deeper into the data-driven economy, policymakers should take into account the need to maintain such a balance when considering the relationship between [IP] rights and data.” – Robert D. Atkinson, President, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (IP Protection in the Data Economy: Getting the Balance Right on 13 Critical Issues)
  • “As this office enters its second decade, it has never been more clear of the importance that we must continue to place on [IP] as a driver of innovation and job creation, and the importance of enforcing and protecting the rights of our Nation’s creators and inventors.” – The Honorable Vishal Amin, U.S. IP Enforcement Coordinator (IP Watchdog)
  • “Obviously we want a robust patent system to incentivize and protect innovation so the United States remains a leader in biomedical innovation…There is a general principle that drugs, like many products in today’s world, are complex systems and there will be patents on the molecule itself, there will be patents on the method of manufacturing, for example. There will be patents on the coding and delivery mechanisms and things like that. Each one of which can form innovative concepts and we want to incentivize and protect.” – The Honorable Andrei Iancu, Under Secretary of Commerce for IP and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) (Oversight of the United States Patent and Trademark Office)
  • “The expanded uses of an existing drug… it’s not like you go, ‘Hey, this drug that works for one illness seems to have efficacy in another one,’ we know it’s not just a matter of letting them use it, then you have to go through the clinical trial process, the FDA approval process, to actually allow that to happen, and that costs money, money that has to be recouped, and if there’s no guarantee that you would, then there may be treatments that will simply not get to the market because there’s no business basis for being able to move forward.” – U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) (Oversight of the United States Patent and Trademark Office)
  • “We literally lose hundreds of billions of dollars every year as countries all around the world ... have brazenly stolen the fruits of our ingenuity…Counterfeit goods [not only hurt] American companies but line the pockets of organized crime and often present grave safety threats to Americans.” – U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) (IP Watchdog)

Learn more about the critical role of IP in biopharmaceutical innovation by following along our new IP Explained series on catalyst.phrma.org.

Tom Wilbur

Tom Wilbur Tom Wilbur is a director of public affairs at PhRMA focusing on the organization’s federal advocacy priorities including intellectual property and Medicare Part D. Prior to joining PhRMA, Tom worked in national and state politics for nearly a decade, most recently on Capitol Hill as a strategic communicator and campaign manager. Tom is a proud Michigander and in his spare time enjoys reading, live music, and spending time with friends and family cheering on Detroit sports teams.

Topics: Intellectual Property, IP Explained

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