Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) President and CEO John Castellani issued the following statement today:
Maintaining global incentives for research and development into new medicines is essential for continued innovation of treatments for improving the health and lives of patients. Worldwide respect for intellectual property helps to ensure that patients around the globe receive the benefits of future discoveries of life-saving medicines, including the more than 5,400 medicines currently in development by the pharmaceutical industry.
The Special 301 process garners the high-level attention from our trading partners necessary to redress intellectual property violations and market access concerns within individual markets and to send signals to other U.S. trading partners that protecting American intellectual property is important not only to the U.S. economy but also to patients across the globe.
We appreciate the continuing efforts underway across the U.S. Government, including by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), the Departments of State and Commerce, and U.S. overseas missions, to promote compliance with international obligations and protection of U.S. intellectual capital.
While we continue to believe that the systemic pattern of undermining patented medicines in India warrant its elevation to Priority Foreign Country status, we welcome the announcement that USTR will initiate an Out-of-Cycle Review of India this fall. Such a review provides a needed avenue for constructive engagement with the incoming Indian government on how to resolve the deteriorating IP environment in India. Nothing less than full engagement in the months ahead is needed to resolve these critical issues.
The innovative pharmaceutical industry faces significant challenges in Canada as well, with patented medicines coming under systematic attack while the Canadian government fails to commit to strong biopharmaceutical IP protections at home and in negotiations with its trading partners. PhRMA appreciates the fact that USTR has raised these concerns in the Report. Canadian industrial policy continues to harm U.S. innovators while stifling the development of Canada’s own research-based industries. We look forward to working with both the U.S. and Canadian Governments to improve the innovation climate.
The value of IP protection should not be undermined by discriminatory market access barriers, including non-transparent government pricing and reimbursement policies. We welcome USTR’s recognition of market access barriers faced by innovative U.S. pharmaceutical companies. IP rights that spur drug development and efforts to ensure that patients have access to those new drugs go hand in hand in improving health care and patient outcomes.
PhRMA members look forward to working with the staff of the USTR and other U.S. Government agencies as they continue to represent the interests of U.S. consumers, patients, workers and industry by addressing unfair trade practices around the world.