Fostering Opportunities in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership

Opportunities in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership

10.31.13 | By Jay Taylor

Yesterday, the Senate Finance Committee held its first hearing on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a comprehensive free trade agreement that the U.S. and European Union have begun negotiating. America’s research-based biopharmaceutical companies believe that the TTIP negotiations provide an important opportunity to spur a new era of biomedical innovation in countries that are already global leaders on this front.

The United States and the EU comprise the world’s largest trading relationship. A well-constructed TTIP could open up vast new possibilities for cooperation and collaboration that would improve market access and speed the development and approval processes for new medicines. This was in fact a main focus in testimony to the committee by Dave Ricks, Senior Vice President of Eli Lilly and President of Lilly Bio-Medicines.

The TTIP presents tremendous opportunities for economic growth on both sides of the Atlantic, but there is much at stake for patients as well. For instance, including robust and enforceable intellectual property protections in the TTIP will help foster the development of new medicines and establish strong standards for future negotiations between the U.S., EU and their trading partners around the globe. In addition, addressing biopharmaceutical regulatory compatibility within the TTIP would help create regulatory certainty and clarity, and reduce inefficient or duplicative requirements that can sometimes hinder review and approval processes. And lastly, ensuring transparency and due process in any government pricing and reimbursement decision-making processes can increase patient access to medicines.

The innovative industry is particularly concerned about the European Medicines Agency's proposed policy to disclose confidential test and other data submitted with pharmaceutical marketing approval applications.  TTIP is a critical avenue for addressing inappropriate government disclosure of confidential commercial information in favor of the biopharmaceutical industry’s approach: responsible clinical trial data sharing that effectively safeguards the privacy of patients, preserves the integrity of the regulatory system, preserves incentives for investments in biomedical research, and is consistent with the EU's existing trade obligations. 

Although trade barriers between the sophisticated U.S. and EU markets are already comparatively low, the TTIP will present its own unique challenges. How we navigate these challenges and strive toward an ambitious, comprehensive agreement will go a long way toward ensuring the TTIP becomes the new “Gold Standard” for 21st Century trade partnerships.


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