All Mixed Up Down Under: Why Australia Should Embrace Robust Regulatory Data Protection in the TPP

Regulatory data protection (RDP) is neither an extension of patent rights nor a substitute for them. Though they work through different avenues, both serve to incentivize biopharmaceutical firms to invest in the research and development that bring us breakthrough therapies and cures. If innovative therapies and improving global public health are important to Australia, they should protect biologic medicines with both robust patents and RDP.

Global Access to Oncology Drugs: Intellectual Property Rights are Key

While strong intellectual property rights (IPRs) are frequently depicted as a barrier to wider access to medicines, evidence suggests that weak intellectual property rights environments are also a barrier to access, discouraging timely product launches. In the current debate over access to medicine, it is essential to recognize that insufficient IP rights also harm patients. Affordable…unaffordable…before price can be an issue, products must be available. As noted by Lanjouw, “Less than one-half of the new pharmaceutical molecules that are marketed worldwide are sold in any given country, and those that are sold are often available to consumers in one country only six or seven years after those in another. Both price regulation and intellectual property rights influence these outcomes.” If cancer patients are to receive the treatments they need, nations must embrace both availability and affordability. Sufficient intellectual property rights protection is key to availability.

Embrace Success: The Case for Data Exclusivity

Intellectual property protection is essential to global health and the future of medicine. In the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Trade Agreement we have the ability to embrace medical breakthroughs and invest in a healthier future, or to undermine it. The United States is currently negotiating the TPP with eleven other nations (Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam), and intellectual property protection is a contentious issue in the discussions.

How the Canada EU Trade Agreement Benefits All Canadians

Canada and the European Union recently announced the completion of the largest trade agreement in Canada’s history, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).   Importantly, the agreement moves beyond the traditional reduction of tariffs and elimination of non-tariff barriers to close critical gaps that currently exist in intellectual property protections. 

Compulsory Licenses Won’t Solve a Healthcare Crisis

A great article by Dr. Kristina Lybecker, Associate Professor of Economics at Colorado College, published in IP Watchdog on the battle for health in India and the TRIPS Agreement.
"The compulsory licensing provisions of the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS agreement and public health have the potential to save lives and protect public health. However, to deliver on this potential the provisions must be used responsibly. Specifically, the interpretation of ‘national emergency’ should adhere to both the text of the declaration, as well as its intent.

Intellectual Property and Economic Development

"It is time for India’s leaders to recognize the positive role that IP can play in fostering growth and improving citizens’ wellbeing," states Rod Hunter (senior director for international economics on President George W. Bush’s National Security Council, is a senior vice president at the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America) in his recent op-ed featured in Today's Zaman. "The reality is that IP protection is an economic engine that developing-country citizens should not have to forego."

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