A Breath Of New Life — For A Possible Trans-Pacific Trade Accord? Could Be Good For Pharma. . .

Back in July of 2015 — and earlier, in June — we offered our perspective here on what such a pact might mean for US drug companies that compete in the Pacific Rim. Do read those. This is a complicated topic, with policy puts and takes, on all sides — and it covers everything from autos to technology goods. But pharma/biologics have long presented a particularly vexing set of trade issues.

And so, by late July, the talks had ended without an accord — or even a framework, for reaching one — in no small part due to the pharma/bio related issues. Chief among the sticking points was the US’s insistence on a 12 year biologics IP protection/exclusivity period. Well, tonight we read (courtesy of the New York Times) that there may be an eight year compromise afoot. It is my view that US multi-national drug companies would fare better, in the main, under an eight year compromise on biologics IP exclusivity, than to leave 2015 without an accord, at all. [With 2016 ushering in a full-on presidential election cycle, with protectionism looming as a key issue (on all sides), I think 2015 is the last best opportunity for several years.] I suspect BiO and PhRMA see it that way too — and will end up agreeing — after some gnashing and wailing. Still, a deal is far from certain, but this is a rather hopeful moment (again quoting The Gray Lady):

. . . .[Mr. Obama’s U.S. Trade Representative Michael] Froman was particularly embroiled on Friday in trying to settle the pharmaceutical drug issues. The most vexing question was how long drug companies can have exclusive rights to data related to their development of so-called biologic drugs (products made from living organisms and considered promising for cancer treatments) before they must share the information with generic manufacturers.

The United States, which had insisted on 12 years to ensure drug manufacturers have incentives to innovate, recently proposed an eight-year provision as a compromise. It would give companies five years of exclusive rights followed by a three-year period of limited market sharing. . . .

And so. . . “Hope is a good thing. In fact, it may be the best of all things.” Hope — of new life. Smile. G’night.


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