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IP in the Economy

Because of a strong U.S. IP system, IP-intensive manufacturing industries drive economic progress and collectively support 57.6 million American jobs. The biopharmaceutical industry is a leader among these industries, contributing substantially to national, state and local economies by employing 800,000 Americans directly and supporting 4.7 million jobs nationwide.

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IP and Innovation

Our IP system – including patents – drives innovation and innovation shouldn’t stop once a new drug becomes available to patients. Whether reducing side effects or finding new diseases a medicine can treat, patent protections incentivize manufacturers to continue working to improve their medicines and make them more effective for patients.

Most innovations, especially technologically advanced ones like medicines, encompass multiple inventions that may each be covered by an individual patent. For example, one of the best-selling golf balls has 60 patents alone. Patents incentivize innovation by granting exclusive rights to new inventions for a set period of time, while requiring innovators to publicly share information about their inventions – allowing more generic drugs to be developed and enter the market after patent protections expire.

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IP and International

IP systems differ from country to country. Some nations enjoy strong, modern approaches to IP protections that encourage investment and innovation. However, many countries still use outdated IP systems that discourage innovation by not providing adequate protections. When it comes to medical innovation, weak IP systems can ultimately diminish patient access to new treatments and cures. Learn more here.

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IP and Treatment Options for Patients

Our IP system – including patents – promotes competition and is the foundation for new treatments and cures for patients. Nobody has a monopoly on treating a condition, and brand patented drugs often have many competitors. Today more than 90% of prescriptions for drugs are filled with generics – up from 19% 35 years ago. This increase in generic availability is one indication of how our system of patent protections promotes competition. In the last three years alone, 150 new treatments and cures have been approved by the FDA, and over 3,000 generic alternatives have been approved or are on the road to approval.

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