WASHINGTON (Dec. 18, 2019) – Pharmaceutical IP protections, and biologics in particular, have played a prominent role in the congressional debate over passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

In a new policy study, R Street Trade Policy Counsel Clark Packard and Associate Fellow Bill Watson claim that the United States has spent too much time and political capital in trade negotiations trying to protect a small segment of the U.S. economy to the detriment of broader trade liberalization.

They argue that in trade agreements we must strike a balance between incentivizing innovation and promoting competition to drive down prices for consumers.

They find that smarter treatment of biologics in trade agreements can help reduce healthcare costs and pave the way for freer trade.

The authors conclude, “Long biologic exclusivity provisions fit perfectly into the category of misguided intellectual property provisions pushed by U.S. negotiators in FTAs. Such a provision would not open markets or even promote innovation. Instead, it would tie the hands of U.S. policymakers for the benefit of one part of one industry, while reducing the overall benefits to the U.S. economy.”