TTIP Could Lead To Jobs, Access To Better Drugs, Says Pharma 25/09/2015 by Marianna Drake for Intellectual Property Watch 1 Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)The trade negotiation between Europe and the United States relating to a wide range of trade and investment policies could lead to greater job creation and access to innovative medicines, according to senior European and American pharmaceutical business leaders and academics. They reflected on the benefits the agreement would bring to both the healthcare industry and society as a whole in an online question and answer session organised by the pharma industry Global Health Progress initiative on 11 September. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), in negotiation since 2013, has been the subject of rising concern from civil society, in particular relating to access to health issues. The pharmaceutical industry stands to make significant gains from the agreement as approximately “80% of pharmaceutical sales are between USA and Europe,” said Lars Sørensen, president and chief executive officer of Novo Nordisk. The TTIP agreement would strengthen industry ties between these nations, thereby reducing the cost of research and launching new treatments according to Kristina Lybecker, an associate professor of economics at Colorado College (US). The discussion centred on four key aspects of the TTIP agreement and their effects on the pharmaceutical industry. These are: Regulatory Harmonisation Regulatory harmonisation between the American and European systems would be introduced to reduce duplicative clinical trials, rules and regulations “without threatening safety or a loss of basic standards,” according to David Taylor, a non-executive director of the Camden Primary Care Trust. David Ricks, president of Lilly Bio-Medicines and senior vice president at Eli Lilly & Company, maintained that both regulatory systems are of a “very high standard and have the same overall goals,” thus the additional time and cost required to comply with transatlantic regulation is redundant. Ultimately, the two regulatory systems have similar standards, but different definitions and approaches, rendering the differences simply “a de-facto tax on innovation,” according to Ricks. Minimising these duplications and harmonising future regulation would lead to increased efficiency and development speed, enabling patients to gain quicker access to new and innovative medicines. IPR Provisions Crucial In response to a question posed by Intellectual Property Watch about the importance of including IP provisions in the agreement, Sørensen stated that they were crucial in incentivising companies’ investment in research and development of new medicines and treatments. Ricks commented that as both the European Union and United States have ‘high standards’ of intellectual property protection, the industry has simply asked that they are reconfirmed in the agreement. According to Ricks, the pharmaceutical industry would not be requesting an increase in patent terms, but rather a “simplification of the current patent litigation system”, which is currently an “expensive patchwork” of diverging national measures. Sørensen emphasised that under the TTIP agreement the pricing and reimbursement of pharmaceuticals will continue to be set by national governments, as the EU “does not have the mandate to decide how member states deliver healthcare to their citizens.” Data Protection Protects Investment The inclusion of regulatory data protection provisions in the TTIP was believed to be important to the pharmaceutical industry. It would protect innovative firms investing significant resources in clinical trials to gather data proving to regulators that a new therapy is safe and effective. Taylor stated that data exclusivity ensures that this data cannot immediately be used by “profit seeking copyists” looking to “licence an alternative version of the same treatment.” Data protection incentivises innovation in a different, yet equally important, way to patents and plays a crucial role in the context of rare diseases and child medicines. Investment Chapter Protects Investors from Unfair Treatment Including an investment chapter containing an investor-state dispute (ISDS) resolution mechanism, seeking to protect investors from unfair treatment by governments of countries in which they have invested, would be appreciated by the pharmaceutical industry, according to Lybecker. They emphasised that the mechanism is only employed as a last resort if a dispute cannot be solved through the domestic court system. Further, Taylor submitted that including an ISDS mechanism would be beneficial as it would bring the TTIP agreement in line with numerous existing trade agreements containing ISDSs, and increase “investor confidence on both sides of the Atlantic.” Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Marianna Drake may be reached at email@example.com."TTIP Could Lead To Jobs, Access To Better Drugs, Says Pharma" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.