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The continued imperative to protect U.S. innovation worldwide

Chris Moore   |     April 29, 2020   |   SHARE THIS

The COVID-19 pandemic is further demonstrating that the world needs biopharmaceutical innovation to address pressing global health challenges – both now and in the future. PhRMA members are collaborating with others and working around the clock to research and develop vaccines and treatments to beat the virus.

The 2020 Special 301 Report released today by the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) highlights just how essential open markets and effective intellectual property protections and enforcement are to meeting today’s challenges and to delivering tomorrow’s new treatments and cures. The report confirms the U.S. government’s strong commitment to defend and promote fair market access for American inventions, including biopharmaceuticals, in countries around the world.

Thanks to its domestic intellectual property and market-based policy environment, the United States leads the world in the research and development of new medicines. With the right policies in place, the new treatments and cures pioneered here can continue to benefit patients everywhere. There are notable examples from the 2020 Special 301 Report of how USTR is defending American innovators:

  • Ensuring transparency and fairness of pharmaceutical pricing and reimbursement policies in Canada, Japan and South Korea so trading partners appropriately recognize the value of innovative medicines and contribute their fair share to research and development of new treatments and cures.

  • Combating the negative impact of compulsory licensing actions in Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and other regions.

  • Condemning weak intellectual property protection and other policies in Argentina, India, Malaysia, and enhancing engagement with Saudi Arabia by conducting an out-of-cycle review to resolve longstanding concerns.

The benefits of good policies extend beyond getting a treatment or vaccine to patients. Ensuring a fair and equitable trading environment is also a powerful tool to drive economic growth. In the U.S. alone, pioneering work by biopharmaceutical innovators contributes more than $1 trillion annually to the economy and supports more than four million jobs in all 50 states. PhRMA’s 2020 Special 301 submission notes ways that other countries can optimize the economic potential of open markets and effective intellectual property protections and enforcement.

In times of crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, the world needs innovation more than ever. Patents and other intellectual property protections have enabled a rapid response to the coronavirus, and can help address future challenges. To win the fight, countries around the world must continue protecting new inventions. Working together, we can continue to bring the benefits of biopharmaceutical innovation to patients worldwide.

Required by the Trade Act of 1974, the annual Special 301 Report identifies foreign countries that deny adequate and effective intellectual property protection or fair and equitable market access for U.S. products. To view PhRMA’s complete 2020 Special 301 submission, please click here.

Chris Moore

Chris Moore Chris Moore is deputy vice president of international advocacy at PhRMA.

Topics: Patents, Intellectual Property, Trade, International Reference Pricing

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