A new report by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) has found intellectual property (IP) protections to be crucial to stimulating risk-taking and innovation. The study, How National Policies Impact Global biopharma Innovation: A Worldwide Ranking, shows how strong approaches to IP have extended the world’s average life expectancy, led to the creation of life-saving drugs and the growth of life-science industries.
On average, it takes at least ten years for a new medicine to complete the journey from initial discovery to the marketplace, with clinical trials alone taking six to seven years on average. Despite these challenges, America’s biopharmaceutical research companies remain committed to bringing forth the medicines that extend lives and improve patient care.
However, because the challenges facing the creation of new medicines are so significant, having strong IP protections has never been so important. The ITIF report underscores how countries compare to each other when it comes to adopting modern, effective IP infrastructures and encouraging growth and innovation.
The study laid out the dangers that weak IP systems, can have on the future of innovation and drug development. Unless proper protections are in place, innovators do not have the necessary incentives to invest the resources necessary to discover new pharmaceutical compounds. Conversely, it showed that countries like the United States and much of the EU, which have 12 and 10 years of data protections, are also the world’s leading developers of new medicines. Those nations that offer none or only minimal protections fail to create an atmosphere that encourages life-science innovation, damaging their ability to become centers for innovative growth and discovery.Policy leaders from around the world should be encouraged that so many nations are taking steps to strengthen their life-science industries. For the nations that struggle to incentivize innovation, the steps are clear. Established, long-term exclusivity periods foster invention and provide drug creators the confidence they need to take risks and invest in the future.