WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 28, 2017) – Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) Vice President Jay Taylor issued the following statement today:
“America’s biopharmaceutical innovators lead the world in the research, development and manufacture of valuable new medicines. They support more than 4 million jobs across the country. Effective intellectual property protection abroad and fair access to overseas markets are essential to continue the work of bringing new treatments and cures to patients who need them.
“But as today’s Special 301 Report makes clear, India, Indonesia and other countries are failing to protect American ideas, brands and inventions. U.S. free trade agreement partners like Canada and Colombia are among the worst offenders. Urgent action is needed to hold these countries to their global and bilateral commitments and to ensure innovators in the United States can compete on a level playing field.
“Countries highlighted in the 2017 Special 301 Report are preventing innovators from securing patents, enforcing patents and protecting regulatory test data. India and Indonesia do not even provide patents for many kinds of new medicines. Canadian courts have struck down patents on 25 medicines that have benefitted Canadian patients and enjoy patent protection in many other countries around the world. Colombia fails to value and protect innovation and is slowing the launch of new medicines by delaying review of biopharmaceutical patents.
“Intense bilateral engagement is also needed to remedy serious and growing concerns in certain other countries. For example, contrary to its U.S. trade agreement obligations, the Australian Government is discouraging effective patent enforcement by seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in damages from biopharmaceutical innovators that pursued unsuccessful patent claims. This practice comes against the backdrop of an otherwise rapidly deteriorating environment for innovators in Australia.
“Discriminatory market access barriers, including non-transparent government pricing and reimbursement policies, undermine the value of intellectual property and weaken incentives to invest in the development of new medicines. Intellectual property rights that spur drug development and efforts to ensure that patients have access to those new drugs go hand in hand with improving health care and patient outcomes. These sorts of discriminatory practices not only impact U.S. jobs and our innovative economy, but patients here and around the world who are waiting for the next generation of cures.
“The Special 301 Report is an essential tool to engage America’s trading partners on intellectual property and market access challenges in overseas markets that are harming American innovators, patients, and workers. PhRMA members look forward to working with USTR and other U.S. government agencies to address and resolve these and other unfair and discriminatory trade practices around the world.”
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country’s leading innovative biopharmaceutical research companies, which are devoted to discovering and developing medicines that enable patients to live longer, healthier and more productive lives. Since 2000, PhRMA member companies have invested more than half a trillion dollars in the search for new treatments and cures, including an estimated $58.8 billion in 2015 alone.