Washington, D.C. (May 4, 2009) — Chris Singer, president of the International Section of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, issued the following statement today on the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) "Special 301" annual report to Congress, outlining the Administration’s global intellectual property agenda:
“Maintaining global incentives for research and development of new medicines is essential for the continued innovation of treatments that help improve the health and lives of patients all over the world. The importance of these incentives is underscored by the current threat of a pandemic health emergency and the need for new, innovative antiviral products.
“Worldwide respect for intellectual property is the engine that will enable patients around the globe to receive the benefits of future discoveries. This respect is particularly important for American patients, who otherwise end up supporting a disproportionate share of the burden for the development of new medicines. Patients around the world are waiting for the more than 2,900 medicines currently in development by PhRMA member companies.
“Protecting American intellectual property also is important to the U.S. economy. For these reasons, PhRMA and its members place a high priority on addressing the harm caused by inadequate IP protection and by the market access barriers put in place by some U.S. trading partners. We appreciate efforts underway at all levels by USTR, the Departments of State and Commerce, and the effective advocacy of U.S. overseas missions to promote compliance with international obligations.
“We applaud the report’s discussion on counterfeiting problems that present public health concerns in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world. Our member companies are actively engaged in seeking solutions to these problems with the U.S. Government, governments mentioned in this submission, allied industry associations, the World Health Organization and concerned health professionals and patient groups.
PhRMA and its members are committed to helping address the public health risks and other public interests that are compromised by those who traffic in counterfeit medicines.
“We are concerned that Brazil’s treatment in the report does not adequately reflect the actual barriers to effective intellectual property protection in place in that country or the international pronouncements made by the Government on IP-related matters.
“We share the Government’s hope that recent statements of intent by officials in Thailand to make IPR protection and enforcement a higher priority will yield results. We are concerned, however, that the lack of progress on IPR issues in Thailand was not given sufficient weight in the final determination.
“At the same time, we are encouraged that the Administration has taken steps to highlight the deficiencies of China, Russia, India, Indonesia, Pakistan and some other countries. China, for instance, continues to circumvent its obligations to protect safety and efficacy data generated by innovative companies and India is no closer to implementing such fundamental protection. PhRMA appreciates USTR's recognition of the severity of the IP concerns for pharmaceutical companies in these countries.
“In addition, we applaud the Government’s recognition of progress made by Korea in IPR protection, which resulted in removing Korea from all lists in the present report. We look forward to full implementation by Korea of additional IPR protections in the KORUS FTA upon ratification.
“The ‘Special 301‘ process continues to be effective in gaining high-level attention from our trading partners – attention that is needed to redress intellectual property violations and market access concerns. PhRMA and its members look forward to working with the staff of the USTR as they continue to represent the interests of American consumers, patients, workers and industry by addressing unfair trade practices in key countries around the world.”
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country’s leading pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, which are devoted to inventing medicines that allow patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. PhRMA companies are leading the way in the search for new cures. PhRMA members alone invested an estimated $50.3 billion in 2008 in discovering and developing new medicines. Industry-wide research and investment reached a record $65.2 billion in 2008.
PhRMA Internet Address: www.phrma.org
For information on how innovative medicines save lives, visit: www.innovation.org
For information on the Partnership for Prescription Assistance, visit: www.pparx.org
For more information on public health emergencies, visit: www.rxresponse.org
For information on the danger of imported drugs, visit: www.buysafedrugs.info