Today’s Wall Street Journal editorial, Pacific Trade Brinksmanship, does an outstanding job highlighting the important role that patent protection plays in promoting innovation and fostering medical breakthroughs. The article highlights why adequate protections for biologics must be a centerpiece of a successful Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
One of the issues being negotiated is the right amount of patent protection for innovative medicines. As the editorial notes, the U.S. currently wants “biologic protections to last a dozen years, after which foreign firms could make generic copies.” This policy enjoys broad bipartisan support in the U.S. and weakening it would, as the Journal points out, “result in fewer cures for the world market and less U.S. growth.” It also would hinder the ability of other TPP countries to build their own biotechnology sectors and to attract the investment needed to support this growth.
The editorial frames why getting this issue right is so important for long-term growth and competitiveness….
“The biologics issue highlights why TPP is essential for global growth: It would be the first major trade deal to liberalize trade in services and include protections against commercial intellectual-property theft and official expropriation of assets. Such protections are essential to modern industries, from biotech and software to movies and music, that are particular strengths of America’s innovative, knowledge-based economy….. If a Pacific pact is going to be worth the effort, it has to protect the fruits of innovation in the information economy.”