Pharma CEOs head to WH to hear Obama's TPP pitch; Clinton comes out against trade deal
- BioCentury reports that a powerful coalition of biopharma CEOs is heading to the White House on Thursday in order to hear President Barack Obama defend the drug IP protection compromise hashed out in the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. Attendees will include Merck chief Ken Frazier (who's also the chairman of PhRMA) and Biogen CEO/PhRMA chairman-elect George Scangos.
- BIO and PhRMA wanted 12 years' data exclusivity for biologic drugs, as exists in the U.S. Many other countries balked at that number, and TPP negotiators came to a compromise arrangement that would provide anywhere from five to eight years of protection for such drugs. The industry isn't happy with that compromise.
- On Wednesday, Democratic presidential frontrunner and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton came out against the TPP. The move surprised many considering that Clinton had worked hard to help shape the deal herself as Secretary of State. Clinton says that, from what she's heard of the deal, the TPP framework doesn't meet her "high standards," and that she's "worried that the pharmaceutical companies may have gotten more benefits, and patients and consumers fewer."
The complex compromise on biologics exclusivity in the TPP is now drawing fire from both sides. Biopharma companies argue that five to eight years of protection will discourage innovation and isn't enough for drug makers to recoup the costs of expensive biologics R&D. On the other hand, Hillary Clinton is saying that even this compromise may be too much of a giveaway to corporate biopharma interests.
Perhaps Clinton's position on drug exclusivity specifically shouldn't be that surprising in light of her recent focus on pharma's pricing practices, which she's described as "price gouging" in the wake of the Martin Shkreli/Turing Pharma Daraprim pricing brouhaha. Clinton released a plan to limit drug prices and roll back biologics exclusivity shortly after the Shkreli incident came to light, and is clearly making the industry a central target of her ire during the 2016 campaign cycle.
President Obama and leaders of the other other TPP member countries clearly have a long way to go to convince both businesses and skeptical politicians of the deal's merits.
Stay tuned for a more in-depth look at the TPP's biologics exclusivity compromise on BioPharma Dive.
- BioCentury Biopharma CEOs meeting with Obama on TPP