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Usmca Trade Agreement Pharmaceuticals

„This is one of the first times we`ve actually seen Pharma lose,“ said Earl Blumenauer, a Democrat from Oregon who heads a trade subcommittee. „They have a remarkable track record because they are a great political force. They spend a lot of money on lobbying, advertising, campaigning. But we resisted, and we won in all areas. The brand industry`s strategy of setting a precedent for future agreements guaranteeing at least 10 years of market exclusivity has failed to fit into the USMCA version signed by the President. That`s good news. Life-saving drugs are becoming faster and more affordable. U.S. trade policy should reflect U.S. law and promote a balance between supporting the development of innovative drugs and promoting competition by improving access to generic drugs and biosimilars.

Unfortunately, this policy objective, contained in the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act 2015 (TPA), is often absent from U.S. trade policy. Mr. Pelosi appointed the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Richard Neal, D-Mass., to lead an eight-member group to coordinate renegotiations with USTR, Canada and Mexico. The task was not easy, as trade relations between the countries became strained when the United States imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum. It was assured that Washington`s treatment of steel and aluminum imports would remain separate from the USMCA discussions, but that did not work quite that way. In the end, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley asked R-Iowa to have Canada and Mexico off tariffs on Trump`s metals. He acted after Canada and Mexico retaliated by targeting American agricultural products and harming Iowa farmers, Grassley voters. Further proof that all policies are local.

All this leaves Big Pharma disappointed. The industry enthusiastically supported the initial presentation of the USMCA – and The Democrats in the House of Representatives began to make a difference. As things stand, the trade agreement does not bring them any benefit. A Big Pharma spokesperson summarizes the industry`s acquisition of the redesigned USMCA: „Explain the open season for these innovators and send a clear message that the U.S. government will stand idly by as foreign companies attack U.S. intellectual property, U.S. jobs and U.S. global leadership in medical innovation.“ It doesn`t mince words. Some members of Congress weigh in on these concerns and go directly to patients (sponsoring „voters“).

These include many Democrats who want to reduce the exclusivity of organic products in order to increase competition and lower retail prices. The original Lighthizer version of the USMCA would have provided the biologist with protection against biosimilars for at least 10 years, thus supplementing existing safeguards under national law. That probably would have done two things. First, it would probably have increased drug prices in Canada and Mexico, given that these countries have shorter exclusivity periods. Second, because it is part of an international treaty, this measure would have tied the hands of Congress to future efforts to reduce domestic protection – that is, Congress could not lower the internal exclusivity period to something less than what the trade agreement required.


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