Earlier this week, the White House released the 2013 Joint Strategic Plan for Intellectual Property Enforcement. Intellectual property enforcement holds significant implications for the U.S. economy, innovative industry, and patients. IP-intensive industries support nearly 30% of jobs in the United States and contribute several trillion dollars to the U.S. GDP. However, beyond the numbers, strengthening the enforcement capabilities for IP also helps to ensure that patients have access to authentic, safe, and effective medicines. As Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC) Victoria Espinel stated, “While intellectual property infringement threatens the ideas and innovations that are the lifeblood of pharmaceutical companies and, in turn, our industry’s contribution to the U.S. economy, it also presents a very real public health and safety danger to patients world-wide.”
We applaud the White House and Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, Espinel for their commitment to protecting intellectual property and patients. The new strategy reaffirms many of the key objectives from the administration’s 2010 strategy, including:
- Protecting the supply chain
- Cracking down on counterfeits sold on the Internet
- The value of voluntary actions by Internet commerce stakeholders
However, the 2013 strategy takes positive steps toward assigning clearer ownership within government agencies and addressing mounting challenges to U.S. intellectual property.
In an effort to spur results and prevent inaction, the White House plan seeks to identify the agencies responsible to lead on key actions and deliverables over the next 5 years. While this requires strengthening fronts in the current battle against counterfeits, it also means expanding capabilities to meet new threats. For example, as the threat from illegal online drug sales grows, the plan places greater emphasis on the rise in counterfeit pharmaceutical sales through international and express mail carriers. The world of counterfeit medicines evolves at a rapid pace. In efforts to update our policies to match these changes, the Administration announced intentions to review domestic laws on intellectual property, supply chain, and anti-counterfeiting.
The White House can’t go at it alone. Public-private cooperation is critical to protecting consumers and supporting enforcement in these areas. Nothing is more important to Lilly than the health and well-being of our patients. For this reason, Lilly looks forward to continuing to work with other stakeholders in government and our partners at organizations like the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies and the Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies to do our part to protect patient health.