Why Intellectual Property Matters for Patients

Why Intellectual Property Matters for Patients

02.11.14 | By Jay Taylor

The importance of protecting intellectual property cannot be overstated. For the biopharmaceutical industry, ensuring our ability to innovate is essential for continued R&D to help patients live longer, healthier lives.

To help safeguard U.S. innovation, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) prepares the Special 301 Report annually to pinpoint trade barriers to U.S. companies and products. The report identifies the countries that fail to adequately protect IP or limit equitable market access to the United States as it relates to intellectual property rights. To develop this list, the USTR not only surveys foreign countries’ IP laws and policies, but also solicits input from stakeholder that are impacted by them.

PhRMA submitted its recommendations to the Special 301 Report on Friday. At PhRMA, we believe that addressing the harm caused by inadequate IP protection and other market access barriers must be a high priority for our government. We appreciate the ongoing efforts of USTR and other U.S. government agencies in seeking a level playing field for innovative U.S. companies.

In 2014, we believe that India’s industrial policies pose the biggest threat to biopharmaceutical innovation and should be designated as Priority Foreign Country. India has implemented a number of policies over the past year that are structured to benefit India’s businesses at the expense of foreign innovators.  Other markets, including the United States’ largest trading partner, Canada, maintain a number of policies that directly and negatively impact U.S. biopharmaceutical companies by making it harder to protect and enforce IP rights.

As USTR reviews all the stakeholder submissions and releases its Special 301 Report later this year, we cannot emphasize enough how important IP protection is to the United States; IP rights encourage and protect innovation, which drives our knowledge economy. Undermining innovation through discriminatory policies in foreign countries impacts the U.S.’s ability to develop the next potentially life-changing medicine for patients, and the time to take action is now. Patients around the world are depending on it.  







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