The Biopharmaceutical Industry In a TTIP Economy

The Biopharmaceutical Industry In a TTIP Economy

05.22.14 | By Mark Grayson

Yesterday, stakeholders had an opportunity to meet with and present to negotiators participating in the fifth round of Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) talks taking place in Arlington, Virginia. TTIP is a trade agreement being negotiated between the United States and the European Union  with the goal of enhancing their trading relationship by further reducing, or in some cases eliminating, remaining trade barriers between the two parties. PhRMA, together with its European sister association (EFPIA) and on behalf of their collective member companies, participated in the discussion. The industry’s presentation emphasized the value that innovative biopharmaceutical companies bring to the economies and patients on both sides of the Atlantic and around the world, and why effective intellectual property (IP) rights, market access and regulatory alignment are crucial to maintain and grow that value. 

Our presentation highlighted how critical the innovative biopharmaceutical industry is to the negotiating countries, given its importance to economies on both sides of the Atlantic. The innovative biopharmaceutical industry directly employs 810,000 people in the United States and, in 2011, contributed roughly $790 billion in economic output to the U.S. economy. Additionally, according to EFPIA, our industry employs over 700,000 people within the EU and creates almost 4 times that number in downstream employment, with 1 in 6 of those being highly skilled research and development jobs.

More important than our industry’s economic benefits, however, is our role in improving global health. There are currently more than 5,400 medicines in development across the globe, with 70% of those potentially being first in their class. Medicines being developed today will help tomorrow’s patients lead longer, healthier lives. Indeed, since 1980 life expectancy gains for cancer patients have increased 83% due in large part to the advancements of the biopharmaceutical industry.[1] This impact goes far beyond the EU and the U.S., and our members are actively involved in over 600 partnerships to create effective methods that improve global health.

In order for the biopharmaceutical industry to thrive in a TTIP economy and continue providing societal benefits, the final agreement must include certain provisions. This trade agreement presents a chance to seek greater compatibility between the U.S. and EU regulatory regimes to increase efficiency and expedite the drug review process, thereby allowing patients speedier access to new, innovative treatments. In addition, strong and enforceable IP provisions will also be a key component to a successful agreement. The U.S. and EU share a commitment to IP protections, and therefore have a shared interest in wider adoption of strong IP principles by other trading partners to ensure common protection of those American and European assets throughout the world. Finally, market access issues should be addressed in the final TTIP agreement to ensure that reimbursement and pricing policies are reflective of the true value medicines hold for the patients that need them.

PhRMA is appreciative of the opportunity to contribute to the TTIP stakeholder forum, and we look forward to continued dialogue in hopes of helping to make the final agreement as ambitious and beneficial as possible for the world’s patients and the participating economies.


[1] E. Sun, et al. “The Determinants of Recent Gains in Cancer Survival: An Analysis of the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Database.” Journal of Clinical Oncology 2008; 26(Suppl 15): Abstract 6616.

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