Today’s guest post comes from Eric Dean, General President of the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers and Chairman of the Pharmaceutical Industry Labor-Management Association (PILMA).
At the intersection between the biopharmaceutical industry and North America’s Building Trades Unions is the Pharmaceutical Industry Labor-Management Association, better known as PILMA. As Chairman of the organization, I have taken on its mission of creating high-quality union construction jobs and fostering innovation in the biopharmaceutical sector.
The biopharmaceutical industry is at the forefront of innovation, discovering new treatments and cures that only a few years ago seemed impossible. For example, advances in cancer treatments are now personalized to each individual’s unique DNA; Hepatitis C – once a chronic condition – can now be cured through medication.
Of course, there is a significant cost that comes along with these advancements. The average drug costs $1.2 billion to develop and bring to market. In order to devote the time and money to research, develop and manufacture breakthrough medicines, there must be adequate safeguards in place to ensure that costs can be recouped. The U.S. maintains the highest standards of intellectual property protections in the world with 12 years of data exclusivity for medicines. As a result, medicines are researched and manufactured here in the U.S. creating thousands of jobs for our members.
America’s biopharmaceutical companies rely on North America’s Building Trades Unions to build and retrofit facilities because they know that they will be built to exacting standards and right the first time. Companies cannot afford for delays or mistakes to be made when people’s lives are on the line. The building trades invest over $1 billion each year in training their members to be the best trained and highest skilled workers in the world; oftentimes learning techniques specific to the needs of the biopharmaceutical industry.
To ensure these high-quality jobs remain here in the U.S., it is imperative that intellectual property protections are protected and maintained. That’s why PILMA has adopted a resolution and reaffirmed its position last month on the importance of IP protections to future union construction jobs.
Innovation within the biopharmaceutical sector leads to new discoveries that save lives and help this important U.S. industry remain competitive globally. It is essential for the health of all Americans and those around the world and the U.S. jobs the industry provides that this sector is protected with predictable and strong IP protections.