IPHA urges new Trade Commissioner to back IP protection in Europe

Posted on October, 03 - 2019

The new EU Trade Commissioner, Phil Hogan, has been urged to protect and strengthen biopharmaceutical intellectual property (IP) incentives as part of his growth plans for Europe’s economy.

IPHA met Commissioner Hogan in Brussels as part of a delegation to the European institutions that discussed a range of issues with senior officials and MEPs.

BioPharmaChemical Ireland, which is part of IBEC, was on the delegation, too.

The biopharmaceutical industry faces stiffening competition for investment from other economies. IP incentives, including patents, supplementary protection certificates, regulatory data protection, paediatric extensions and orphan market exclusivity, are the scaffolding for medicines innovation. Without them, there would be no new cures.

IPHA pressed the case for the protection of all IP incentives so that biopharmaceutical innovators stay the course in the search for medical breakthroughs. This is especially important in the context of a review of IP incentives by the EU institutions. As the economies of Brazil, China and India emerge, we must guard against the potential for a flight of research activity. Lives, and jobs, depend on it.

In Europe, the biopharmaceutical industry employs over 765,000 people, contributing more than €105 billion to the balance of trade. We invest over €36 billion in research and development across Europe. In Ireland, the industry’s footprint in Ireland is deep, with 30,000 direct jobs and all 10 of the world’s 10 biggest biopharmaceutical companies.

In a European context, Ireland is consequential. In a post-Brexit world, our impact will likely assume even greater significance.

The Mission Letter from President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, to then Commissioner-designate Hogan urged a ‘strengthening [of] our global leadership in trade’.

Our industry believes we have a major stake in that endeavour. It is vital that we work towards better and faster access for patients to innovative medicines made in Europe. The Commission has already made progress in advancing the EU-US Mutual Recognition Agreement, and we fully support continued engagement between the two sides on regulatory cooperation to reduce duplicative inspections, free up resources and advance faster patient access.