Decision Time On Biologics Exclusivity: Eight Years Is No Compromise

Burcu Kilic and Courtney Pine write: As the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations approach their endgame, biologics exclusivity is still considered “one of the most difficult outstanding issues in the negotiation.”[2] Pharmaceutical companies seek longer data and marketing exclusivities to further delay market entry of cost-saving biosimilar drugs. Data exclusivity prevents follow-on pharmaceutical developers from relying on originators’ test data submitted for marketing approval while seeking such approval for its own product. The World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) requires some protection against unfair competition for this sort of data, but it does not require countries to adopt rules conveying exclusive rights over it in the same way as it does regarding patents.[3] Currently, the US provides 12 years of exclusivity for new biological products under the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act (BPCIA).[4] The provision providing 12 years exclusivity was buried inside the 20,000-page healthcare law, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. A robust debate over what would be an appropriate exclusivity period, if any, was overshadowed by other controversial aspects of the bill commonly referred to as Obamacare.