TTIP Negotiations Toward Better Health Outcomes

TTIP Negotiations Toward Better Health Outcomes

07.15.14 | By Brooke Ringel

This week, the European Commission hosts the sixth negotiating round of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) in Brussels.  As the Commission notes on its website, the discussions will focus on major issue areas including “trade in goods and services, regulatory issues, government procurement, environmental protection and labor rights, energy and raw materials, and opportunities for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).”  This round, as in the past, will also include a dedicated day for stakeholder engagement.  PhRMA’s sister association, the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), will present to European and American negotiators on the importance of TTIP for the innovative biopharmaceutical industry and the many opportunities that TTIP provides to spur the development of new medicines and improve patient access to innovative therapies.  In fact, PhRMA and EFPIA together have developed a summary of these opportunities here.

As the United States and the European Union are already home to most of the world’s biopharmaceutical R&D, an ambitious and comprehensive trade agreement between these economies has tremendous potential to benefit patients in our markets and around the world.  From the $51 billion PhRMA members companies invested in R&D in 2013 to the 5,000 medicines in development globally to the over $9.2 billion in direct health care assistance provided to developing countries in the last decade, the innovative biopharmaceutical industry is making huge and important strides in contributing to patient health.  There’s no question that the American and European economies benefit as well from the innovative biopharmaceutical industry’s support of 810,000 and 700,000 direct jobs in the United States and the EU, respectively.  Sector-specific trade is already strong: $52 billion in biopharmaceutical exports from the United States in 2013, and the highest high-tech sector positive trade balance in the EU at €55.6 billion.  TTIP can make those trade flows even more impressive and impactful as the removal of non-tariff barriers and greater efficiencies allow the transatlantic industry to thrive.

The innovative biopharmaceutical industry supports a TTIP that promotes regulatory compatibility, strengthens intellectual property (IP) protections and recommits to international IP standards, and enhances patient access to innovative biopharmaceutical products through predictable and transparent government pricing and reimbursement policies.  In addition, many of these elements, such as regulatory compatibility, can be expected to not only benefit larger companies, but have a particularly positive impact on SMEs and collaborations that are central to a vibrant life sciences ecosystem.  PhRMA strongly believes that these elements will help accelerate global drug development and enhance patient access to much-needed innovative medicines – goals that should be at the forefront of discussions in Brussels this week.

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