Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sen. Orrin Hatch (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The Trump administration's new trade deal with Canada and Mexico includes a big win for pharmaceutical companies and Republicans — a provision to protect biologic drugs from competition for 10 years.

Why it matters: Republicans say this will spread the cost of developing new drugs beyond the U.S. market, lowering American drug prices. By shielding the drugs from generic competition in Canada and Mexico, the measure will also help pharmaceutical companies reap more profits abroad.

The big picture: Biologics are a class of highly complex, generally very expensive drugs.

  • New biologics get 12 years of market exclusivity in the U.S. market, but 10 years is longer than they currently receive in Canada or Mexico. It's also much longer than the Obama administration had negotiated in its trade deals.
  • In the Obama era, “both countries said unequivocally that they weren’t going to move beyond five years … so to get this result is almost miraculous," said a former senior GOP official intimately involved in Obama and Trump-era trade negotiations.
  • "It will add cost to their national health care systems ... especially in Canada," the official added, but will lead to the creation of new cures “without the United States being the piggy bank for all those research and development dollars."

What we're watching: This was a key issue in the fight over the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch argued that the exclusivity period for biologics was not long enough in that deal.

  • “Chairman Hatch continues to believe that the standard of protection for biologics should be consistent with U.S. law, but he is encouraged that the administration was able to secure 10 years of data protection with Canada and Mexico, the highest standard in any trade agreement," a spokesman said in a statement yesterday.

What they're saying: “We feel this is bad news for patients who are seeking more affordable biologics. It would delay biosimilar competition," Jeff Francer, general counsel for the Association for Accessible Medicines, told Axios when the administration's trade deal with Mexico — also featuring a 10-year protection period — was announced in August.

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

NRA declares bankruptcy, says it will reincorporate in Texas

Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association (NRA) speaks during CPAC in 2016. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The National Rifle Association said Friday it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and will seek to reincorporate in Texas, calling New York, where it is currently registered, a "toxic political environment."

The big picture: The move comes just months after New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit to dissolve the NRA, alleging the group committed fraud by diverting roughly $64 million in charitable donations over three years to support reckless spending by its executives.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden: "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution

Joe Biden. Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden promised to invoke the Defense Production Act to increase vaccine manufacturing, as he outlined a five-point plan to administer 100 million COVID-19 vaccinations in the first months of his presidency.

Why it matters: With the Center for Disease Control and Prevention warning of a more contagious variant of the coronavirus, Biden is trying to establish how he’ll approach the pandemic differently than President Trump.