Apr 26, 2019

U.S.-China trade talks include a blow to Big Pharma

The Trump administration may agree to China's demand that biologics receive only 8 years of market exclusivity as part of a trade deal, a blow to the drug industry, Bloomberg scooped.

What's new: Top U.S. negotiators have told drug companies that China isn't budging from its position, and are pushing the industry to accept the deal.

Background: Biologics get 12 years of market exclusivity in the U.S., and the administration secured a 10-year agreement as part of the trade deal it reached with Mexico and Canada last year (which hasn't yet been approved by Congress).

Between the lines: Obviously, drug companies don't like this. The longer an exclusivity period a drugmaker has, the longer it can enjoy monopoly pricing before a competitor can come to market.

  • Some are frustrated by the administration's approach, Bloomberg reports.
  • Democrats have already criticized the 10-year protections included in the Mexico-Canada deal, saying they ensure higher drug prices in all three countries. If a trade deal with China includes only 8 years of protection, it could weaken the administration's position as it pushes Congress for approval.

Bonus: Bloomberg also had a great story yesterday on nonprofits that receive drug industry funding, and then push for pharma-friendly policies.

Go deeper: China wants its own pharma industry, but has a long way to go

Go deeper

Coronavirus spreads to new countries, while U.S. confirms 57 cases

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

Public health officials confirmed Tuesday the U.S. has 57 people with the novel coronavirus, mostly those repatriated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship — an increase they had expected after the passengers were allowed to return home from Japan against their initial advice.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,700 people and infected more than 80,000 others, mostly in mainland China. There's only been two cases of person-to-person infections in the U.S. so far, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now warning that Americans should prepare for a much broader outbreak here.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health

Space tourism gets ready for launch

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Multiple space tourism companies are aiming to send their first customers to the edge of space before the end of this year.

Why it matters: Right now, most revenue in the space industry is tied up in government contracts, but experts say the maturing industry will need tourism to grow into the $1 trillion economy some predict it could be.

Go deeperArrow2 hours ago - Science