03 May 2002 21:31 [Source: ICIS news]
WASHINGTON (CNI)--The US drug industry praised the Bush administration Friday for "standing strong" for intellectual property rights by calling for Hungary, Israel, Turkey and four other nations to comply with global property rights agreements.
An annual report issued this week by the White House Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) on trade practices of major US trading partners noted deficiencies on the part of several countries regarding pharmaceutical intellectual property.
USTR singled out Hungary for its "continuing failure" to adequately protect confidential data associated with applications for approvals of new medicines, in violation of the global intellectual property agreement.
The report said this and other weaknesses in Hungary's intellectual property system cost US drug makers as much as $100m/year (Euro110m) in lost sales.
Shannon Herzfeld, senior vice president for international affairs at the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), voiced support for the USTR stand and said property rights compliance is in Hungary's own best interest. "As Hungary modernises its economy," Herzfeld said, "it is particularly important that it adopts a state-of-the-art intellectual property regime."
"Experience shows that countries with strong intellectual property protection attract more investment and see more innovation in their domestic industries," Herzfeld said. "For the sake of its economy and its patients, Hungary should remedy this deficiency in its intellectual property system promptly."
The USTR also found that Argentina, Columbia, India and Poland are deficient in data exclusivity.
"At a time when pharmaceutical companies spend an average of more than $800m/year to discover and develop just one medicine, PhRMA member companies need effective data protection as part of an overall commercial climate favourable to pharmaceutical investment," Herzfeld said.
The report reaffirmed the federal government's view that pharmaceutical patents are critical to improving health care throughout the world.
It said: "The US government also remains committed to a policy of promoting intellectual property protection, including pharmaceutical patents, because of intellectual property rights' critical role in the rapid innovation, development, and commercialisation of effective and safe drug therapies."
USTR stressed that financial incentives are needed to develop new medicines, and "no one benefits if research on such products is discouraged."
Washington, DC-based PhRMA represents major research-based US pharmaceuticals manufacturers.
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