Removing USMCA IP Protections Will Harm Drug Innovation, Says Leading Tech Policy Think Tank

December 10, 2019

WASHINGTON—In response to the announcement of a deal on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), the world’s leading think tank for science and technology policy, released the following statement from ITIF President Rob Atkinson:

While it is progress that both sides of the aisle have come together to agree on USMCA, the final agreement was a mixed bag for America's most-innovative industries.

The USMCA contains strong provisions facilitating digital trade, including rules that facilitate the free flow of data across borders, support open data, protect Internet-based services from discriminatory regulation, prevent parties from placing customs duties on digital products, and protect the intellectual property such as source code, algorithms, and encryption keys that underpin digital services.

However, it is extremely disappointing that a key intellectual property provision to give 10 years of data exclusivity for new drugs was dropped. Doing so will hurt U.S. biopharma competitiveness, reduce good paying biopharma jobs in America, and harm future drug innovation.

This should not be a precedent. Future patients, cures, and American life-sciences leadership and jobs depend on robust IP provisions.