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Preserving U.S. innovation worldwide is more important than ever

Megan Van Etten   |     January 29, 2021   |   SHARE THIS

The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred unprecedented levels of innovation within the biopharmaceutical industry to combat this urgent global health crisis. PhRMA member companies are collaborating with governments, academia, NGOs and one another and are working around the clock to research, develop and deliver COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. This swift action and collaboration is made possible because the United States protects and values innovation – which helped enable our industry to translate research into safe and effective products in less than a year that can end the pandemic.

Reliable intellectual property (IP) protections and enforcement, when coupled with market access and trade policies that promote innovation, are necessary for the research, development and manufacture of innovative medicines. Such policies are essential to ensuring that treatments and cures pioneered in the United States can continue to save and improve patients’ lives around the world. IP, market access and trade policy play important roles in helping American patients, leveling the global playing field for U.S. innovators and contributing to economic growth here at home.

The U.S. biopharmaceutical industry supports more than 4 million U.S. jobs, $560 billion in direct economic impact and more than 1,300 manufacturing facilities across the country. Additionally, the sector attracts significant foreign direct investment (FDI) each year; which is used to build new U.S. manufacturing and research facilities. In 2019, 20% of new FDI in the U.S. was for the biopharmaceutical industry, more than any other industry.

In our 2021 Special 301 submission to the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), PhRMA encourages the Biden Administration to redouble longstanding U.S. government efforts to protect American innovations abroad. PhRMA outlines a number of essential steps that will foster an environment for medical progress, including:

  • Protecting and enforcing high-standard intellectual property rights so that biopharmaceutical innovators can continue to research and develop novel medicines globally.

  • Combatting the negative impact of compulsory licensing actions in Indonesia, Malaysia, Russia and other markets through heightened U.S. government engagement.

  • Ensuring transparency and fairness of biopharmaceutical pricing and reimbursement policies, including in Canada, Japan and Korea, so that U.S. trading partners appropriately recognize the value of innovative American medicines.

  • Eliminating restrictive patentability criteria and, once granted, reinforcing strong patent enforcement so that innovators can continue to invest in the research and development of new medicines.

  • Removing restrictive localization barriers that discriminate against foreign manufacturers so that biopharmaceutical innovators can distribute life-saving medicines globally without punishment.

The world needs innovation and progress now more than ever. PhRMA member companies look forward to working with USTR, other U.S. agencies and foreign governments to resolve challenges and strengthen the global ecosystem of biopharmaceutical discovery.

To view PhRMA’s complete 2021 Special 301 submission, please click here.

Megan Van Etten

Megan Van Etten Megan Van Etten is senior director of public affairs at PhRMA. She is responsible for leading the association’s public affairs efforts on international issues, including trade, intellectual property and access to medicines. Prior to joining PhRMA, Megan was director of media and external communications at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and communications director at the Beer Institute. She has also worked as a communications consultant for global public relations firms. When not at the office, Megan enjoys exploring new Washington, D.C. restaurants and traveling with her husband and friends.

Topics: Economic Impact, Intellectual Property, Trade

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