Press Release

PhRMA Statement on Intellectual Capital

PhRMA October 25, 2011

Washington, D.C. (October 25, 2011) — Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) Senior Vice President Matthew Bennett issued the following statement regarding a new report on the value of intellectual capital in the U.S.:"


“The recent economic report about the value of intellectual capital in America, by Kevin Hassett and Robert Shapiro, presents important information about the role of the biopharmaceutical research sector in America. As the authors note, the U.S. has become an ‘ideas-based economy,’ and that certainly describes America’s biopharmaceutical companies, which invest significant resources in turning ideas into innovative, therapeutic medicines for the benefit of patients around the world.


“The report – which values economy-wide intellectual capital in America at $8.1 trillion and total intangible assets at an estimated $14.5 trillion in 2011 – found that 10 out of 24 industries have intellectual capital equal to at least 50 percent of their market value. ‘Intellectual capital’ includes patents, copyrights, and ‘other forms of economic ideas’ like databases and general business methods, while intangible assets are a broader category encompassing both intellectual capital and ‘economic competencies’ such as firm-specific knowledge.


“The report also found that with total intangible assets of $954 billion and intellectual capital of $532 billion (52 percent of market value), the pharmaceuticals-biotech-life sciences sector is only one of two that, the authors say, ‘uniquely combine idea intensity and size with regard to both intellectual capital and intangible assets.’


“In other words, the report emphasizes the significant impact that the innovative biopharmaceutical research sector has on America’s economy.


“The report also stresses the importance of protecting that capital for the good of the economy. As a research-based industry, we agree that it is essential for intellectual property to be protected, both here and abroad.


“Intellectual property protection represents a significant incentive for innovative development of new medicines, which takes 10-15 years on average at a cost that can exceed more than $1 billion, as it helps to provide biopharmaceutical research companies with a chance to recoup that investment – and, ultimately, to continue the cycle of innovation.


“The Hassett/Shapiro report underscores the fact that intellectual property truly is the lifeblood of the biopharmaceutical industry – and an important catalyst for future economic growth.”

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