Dec 3, 2019

Trump may ease drug protections in USMCA to win Democratic support

Photo by Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

The Trump administration may loosen intellectual property protections for some prescription drugs in order to win Democratic support for its new trade deal with Mexico and Canada, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The big picture: The protections are a big win for U.S. drug companies, as they would extend the length of time that biologics can reap the benefits of monopoly pricing in those two other countries.

Details: The original version of the new trade pact gave biologics 10 years of market exclusivity, but Democrats want this time period to be reduced.

  • Right now, biologics have 12 years of market exclusivity in the U.S. They have only eight in Canada and five in Mexico, per The Globe and Mail.
  • Generic drugmakers argue that 10 years may be too long once manufacturing biosimilars becomes more efficient.

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Biologics provision may be dropped from USMCA

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Mexico is considering a U.S. proposal to leave biologics protections out of the new trade deal between the two countries and Canada, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: The change could help the trade agreement get across the finish line by garnering Democratic support, but it'd be a big loss for the pharmaceutical industry.

Go deeperArrowDec 4, 2019

Trump's fine with ditching USMCA prescription drug provision

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Ca.) was among the lawmakers who watched Game 5 of the World Series with President Trump in October. (Photo: Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

As they took in Game 5 of the World Series together, President Trump told House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy he doesn't want to fight for the most prominent prescription drug component of the administration's trade pact with Mexico and Canada — despite it being a key priority for Republicans.

Why it matters: The biologics provision has been one of the final sticking points keeping the USMCA from finalization, with Democrats fighting for it to be removed or watered down. But McCarthy has known for more than a month that Trump probably won't go to bat to keep it.

Go deeperArrowDec 10, 2019

Big Pharma keeps its status quo after USMCA deal

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Pharma didn't get what it wanted on trade, but it's still doing just fine.

The big picture: In this political climate, with this much scrutiny on drug prices, preserving the status quo is an enormous victory for this incredibly powerful industry. And though it failed to win a new victory on trade, the status quo is perfectly intact.

Go deeperArrowDec 11, 2019