Bipartisanship often feels like a thing of the past, but even in Washington, D.C., there's agreement on at least one issue: America needs to be an innovation leader to move our economy forward.
John Lechleiter, Lilly's chairman, president and CEO -- and currently chairman of PhRMA -- addressed an important pathway to innovation in his most recent Forbes.com column. John addressed the importance of securing adequate data protection for biopharmaceutical medicines in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement. And while our leaders talk about the importance of innovation, data protection that would allow companies to recoup very steep investments into research has become a sticking point. U.S. law allows for 12 years of protection, and anything less would risk the very industry that leads the world in medical discoveries.
As John wrote for Forbes, the U.S. accounts for more than 80 percent of the globe's biotech research and development. Each year, the U.S. tests more potential new medicines than the rest of the world combined. And maintaining that edge requires strong intellectual property protection. It's important to remember that Europe's role as an innovator started to dry up late in the 20th century just as rewards for research started to go away. We can't let that happen in the U.S., and inadequate data protection in an important free trade agreement would be an ominous sign.
Innovation is the key to beating back terrible diseases like cancer and Alzheimer's, but it can continue only if we have adequate market protection. You can read more about John's thoughts in Forbes.