Washington, D.C. (December 30, 2013) — Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) Senior Vice President Matt Bennett provided the following statement:
“Innovation is critical to meeting patients’ unmet medical needs and is particularly relevant in the context of evolving healthcare systems around the world. Today’s New York Times article about India’s anti-innovation intellectual property policies looks at complex questions through the too-simple lens of cost. The story gives inadequate attention to the huge investment in research and development that made the life-saving cancer medicines possible and only touches upon the lack of health infrastructure in India that complicates access to medicines and other health care services.
“In order to solve the real health challenges of India’s patients, it is critically important that India promote a policy environment that supports continued research and development of new medicines. Patents for innovative medicines are not a barrier to patient access and compulsory licenses are not the solution to the country’s health care challenges. The Times rightly pointed out the concerns expressed by the U.S. government regarding India’s treatment of patents. Protecting intellectual property is fundamental to the discovery of new medicines and to the future health of patients.
“In partnership with other stakeholders, the biopharmaceutical industry is addressing the health care challenges of developing countries by taking an innovative, responsible, and, above all, sustainable approach. This includes enhancing cancer care for patients in India and around the world, with 3,000 cancer medicines in development globally, 80 percent of which have the chance to be first-in-class treatments.
“Our industry is also committed to working with the Indian Government and other stakeholders to find appropriate health care solutions for patients. For example, 95% of the Indians who were prescribed Novartis's Glivec received the cancer medicine for free. PhRMA member companies have also made significant investments in the research and development of new medicines to address important unmet healthcare needs of Indian patients. In 2012 eight pharmaceutical companies and four research institutions working with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation launched a groundbreaking partnership designed to accelerate the discovery of essential new treatments for tuberculosis, which affects two million new patients each year in India. Another biopharmaceutical company’s foundation supports 12 programs in India to increase hepatitis awareness among the population and health care workers, especially in remote, rural areas. These efforts include disease education, vaccination and programs to help prevent mother-to-child transmissions, which are the most common means of transmission of hepatitis.
“However, India’s intellectual property actions mean that innovative biopharmaceutical companies seeking to invest in India face far greater risk and uncertainty than ever before. While Indian generics manufacturers will profit in the short term, in the long run these decisions mean that India’s patients could face delays in gaining access to the newest medicines. If our collective end goal is to continue providing life-saving innovative medicines to all patients, it’s clear that the Indian Government’s tactics are unsustainable.
“Additionally, India’s industrial policy approach to intellectual property ignores issues of fairness. The U.S. is the key market for Indian pharmaceutical companies (for example, Reuters found one company – Lupin Ltd, had 40 percent of its sales in the U.S.) and they have open and fair access. Meanwhile, India is shutting out U.S. companies and appropriating our technology in order to benefit their homegrown companies. India has a burgeoning middle class of more than 150 million people and vibrant urban regions. Indeed, by some estimates, the Mumbai area's GDP per capita is higher than Hungary's. It does not have to depend on seizing intellectual property.
“As nations such as India create critical health care infrastructure, the best course is to enact sound policies that improve health care delivery and incentivize the continued development of innovative medicines that will benefit patients for years to come.”
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country’s leading innovative biopharmaceutical research and biotechnology 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 approximately $550 billion in the search for new treatments and cures, including an estimated $48.5 billion in 2012 alone.
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For information on how innovative medicines save lives, visit: http://www.innovation.org
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