Washington, D.C. (April 27, 2018) — The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) welcomed the 2018 Special 301 Report, including a new section devoted to pharmaceutical market access barriers, released today by U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer. The Report highlights serious threats America’s biopharmaceutical innovators face in countries around the world, including with trading partners like Canada, Japan, Colombia and others.
“America leads the world in the research and development of new medicines, but some foreign countries stack the deck against our companies,” said Stephen J. Ubl, president and CEO of PhRMA. “Discriminatory pricing and reimbursement policies in Canada, Korea and Japan put our jobs and exports at risk. America needs to fight back – which is why we are encouraged the Trump Administration is taking on foreign governments. The U.S. government should continue using all available tools, including ongoing NAFTA negotiations, to level the playing field for American innovators. A fair and competitive marketplace will drive down costs for U.S. patients.”
PhRMA’s Special 301 submission asked USTR to name Korea, Canada and Malaysia Priority Foreign Countries, a designation reserved for economies with the most onerous and egregious intellectual property or market access practices that have the greatest impact on U.S. products. Earlier this year, USTR secured a commitment under the U.S.–Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) that Korea will end some discriminatory pricing and reimbursement policies. USTR today downgraded Canada from the Watch List to the Priority Watch List and committed to an Out-of-Cycle review of Malaysia’s intellectual property system.
The USTR report also places a priority on solving longstanding problems in India, Indonesia, Chile and other countries, and heading off emerging threats in Colombia and Saudi Arabia.
“We look forward to continuing to work with the Trump Administration to address intellectual property and market access barriers that limit patient access to new treatments and cures,” Ubl added.
There has never been a more important time to protect and value American innovation. Innovative biopharmaceutical companies in the United States invest $90 billion annually in research and development to find tomorrow’s cures for diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s. With about 4,000 medicines in development, open markets and strong intellectual property protections abroad are more critical than ever.
Required by the Trade Act of 1974, the annual Special 301 Report identifies foreign countries that deny adequate and effective intellectual property protection or fair and equitable market access for U.S. products. The detailed information presented in PhRMA’s Special 301 submission highlighted damaging practices that deny adequate and effective intellectual property protection or fair and equitable market access in 20 overseas markets.
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 $600 billion in the search for new treatments and cures, including an estimated $65.5 billion in 2016 alone.