- Members of the 12 Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries are currently meeting in Atlanta.
- The U.S., which is represented by Michael Froman, is pushing for 12 years of exclusivity for brand-name biologics. Other countries, such as Australia and New Zealand, want a shorter period to allow entry of cheaper biosimilars.
- The TPP is intended to lower trade barriers across 12 countries, including Brunei, Chile, Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Vietnam and the United States
When Biopharma Dive reported on this issue on July, things were pretty much the same in terms of the standoff over drug patent life. As we approach the seventh year of TPP negotiations, important issues, such as dealing with financial services and state-owned enterprises, have been largely resolved, but the issue of drug patent life is still a contentious issue that raises a great deal of ire. On one side, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman wants to stick with the 12-year protection policy that the U.S. has. Assuming this policy were negotiated, all member countries would be subject to the same IP policy because of patent linkage.
On the other side of this argment, both Australia and New Zealand are pushing for a limit of five years of patent protection for biologics. They are supported by many U.S. Democrats in the House of Representatives, as well as many U.S. citizens, many of whom have received biologics-based therapies for serious conditions.
Senatory Orrin Hatch (R, Utah), who supports 12-year patent protection, suggests that although the talks seem to be going on interminably without an end in sight, that it's better to keep negotiating until the U.S. is able to procure an acceptable policy on drug patent life.