Earlier today, PhRMA joined organizations representing every sector of America’s knowledge economy at a public hearing in Washington that will inform the federal government’s annual “Special 301” review of overseas practices that deny adequate and effective intellectual property protection.
On behalf of our member companies and the more than 810,000 women and men they employ across the country, we called on the administration to address intellectual property and market access barriers abroad and to promote the kinds of policies and incentives that enable biopharmaceutical innovators to bring valuable new medicines to patients who need them around the world.
Intellectual property drives and sustains scientific progress. It enables access to today’s medicines and drives investment in tomorrow’s treatments and cures. New medicines are delivering for patients and communities. They have cut the heart disease death rate by 46 percent and AIDS deaths by 85 percent.
The United States is the global leader in biomedical research, producing more than half the world’s new medicines in the last decade. Working in partnership with universities, patient organizations, health care providers and others, PhRMA members have introduced more than 500 new therapies since 2000 and are investing in many of the more than 7,000 new treatments currently in development worldwide.
These results and that progress are put at risk when major markets and top U.S. trading partners like Canada and India fail to protect and value innovation. At today’s hearing, we highlighted practices in these countries and elsewhere that are preventing inventors from securing patents on new medicines, maintaining and effectively enforcing patents and protecting regulatory test data.
Based on a novel misinterpretation of internationally accepted patent standards known as the “promise doctrine”, Canadian courts have invalidated 24 patents on 20 innovative medicines. India and other nations are preventing innovators and generics alike from introducing new dosage forms and combinations that can make it easier for patients to take their medicine and stick with treatment.
These practices and others are harming patients and an innovative biopharmaceutical sector that contributes significantly to the U.S. economy and supports good-paying jobs in all 50 states. They appear to be inconsistent with commitments Canada and India made in the WTO and highlight the urgent need to ensure America’s trading partners live up to their international obligations.
With so much at stake for patients around the world and for jobs and growth here at home, PhRMA today urged federal agencies to prioritize action to address damaging intellectual property practices abroad and to leverage all available tools to secure progress and real results.
Chris Moore Chris Moore is deputy vice president of international advocacy at PhRMA.