Negotiating the TPP

Strong IP Protections Mean Faster Development and Access to New Medicines

10.17.13 | By Jay Taylor

As the 12 countries negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) approach the finish line after years of hard work on an ambitious agreement, there remains quite a bit of work left to be done. Now that all the low hanging fruit has been picked, the most difficult issues remain to be finalized. Not surprisingly, intellectual property (IP) is one of those issues 

The TPP reflects the trend in recent trade agreements that go beyond traditional import-export issues and encompass much farther reaching goals such as IP protection and enforcement. IP is not only the lifeblood of American innovative industries, but also plays a vital role for nations that recognize that innovation is a cornerstone (indeed, a prerequisite) for sustained, long term economic success. Its critical importance is a major reason why the IP provisions of the TPP have garnered the focus and resources of the United States and its pro-innovation partners to carefully negotiate.

For the global innovative biopharmaceutical industry, however, intellectual property issues go much deeper than economics and bottom lines. Perhaps the most important reason for establishing strong worldwide intellectual property standards is the hope it means for patients around the world waiting for new treatments and cures for diseases like cancer, diabetes and malaria.  Strong worldwide standards for IP are a critical component of the business environment required to support the development of new medicines

In fact, countries participating in the TPP currently have over 6,000 medicines in development. That figure includes countries like Peru, Vietnam, and Malaysia, that would benefit from recognizing the value of innovative industries and what it can mean for the welfare of their citizens.

Because of innovation, the HIV virus is no longer the death sentence it once was, and survival rates for cancer and cardiovascular disease are much higher. In the context of trade agreements like the TPP, the right environment to support the development of new innovative medicines must be encouraged as much as possible in order to help patients in the participating nations and around the world.

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