Latest TPP Biologics Proposal Is a Step in the Wrong Direction

Prescription pills in a plastic medicine bottle.

As negotiators meet on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in Atlanta, AARP is again urging them to be mindful of the consumers who depend on prescription drugs to manage their health conditions. We continue to have serious concerns with the direction of the TPP negotiations on key issues that will have long-lasting effects on access to affordable prescriptions in the U.S. and around the world.

One of AARP’s main objections centers on the intellectual property provisions in the draft TPP agreement. These provisions would restrict prescription drug competition and result in delaying consumers’ access to lower-cost generic drugs. These anti-competitive provisions would extend brand drug patent protections through “evergreening” drug products that provide little to no new value. They also prolong high prescription drug costs for consumers, link approval to market generic or biosimilar drugs to existing patents in a way that protects only brand drugs, and increase data exclusivity periods for biologics that further delays access by other companies to develop generic versions of these extremely high-cost drugs.

We urge the TPP negotiators to reject calls for additional monopoly protection for biologic medicines. We understand that the newest proposal in the TPP includes five years of data protection plus a three-year post-marketing surveillance period that would effectively give biologic manufacturers at least eight years of monopoly protection. This proposal runs counter to the Obama administration’s efforts to reduce monopoly protection for biologic drugs, efforts that AARP and many other groups also have long supported.

The U.S. is already witnessing the strain of unsustainable prescription drug spending on consumers, state and federal budgets, and our health care system. We simply cannot afford a trade deal that will unduly restrict competition by delaying consumers’ access to lower-cost prescription drugs.

 

 


 

K.J. Hertz is a senior legislative representative on the Federal Health & Family Team in AARP Government Affairs, where he represents AARP on Capitol Hill and with the executive branch. KJ has expertise in a variety of health and aging policy issues including Medicaid, issues affecting the Medicare-Medicaid dual-eligible population, the Older Americans Act, Medicare Part D, and prescription drug and medical device issues.

 

 


 

Search AARP Blogs

Related Posts
December 11, 2018 10:07 AM
In an election year filled with partisanship and political fights, it’s no surprise that many Americans feel that their voices aren’t being heard or that the issues that affect their lives aren’t being addressed. But, many outstanding elected officials work hard every day to make a positive difference for their constituents.  That’s why AARP recognizes state legislators, governors, and other elected officials – from both sides of the aisle – who have stepped up and worked together to write, support, and advance common-sense policies that help older Americans remain in their homes and communities and retire with confidence. AARP is proud to announce our fifth annual bipartisan class of Capitol Caregivers, who fought this year to increase support for family caregivers and their loved ones, along with our fourth annual bipartisan class of Super Savers, who championed policies that enhance retirement security.
December 05, 2018 01:06 PM
Caroline is a mother of two children and a preschool teacher who unexpectedly became a family caregiver for her father after he suffered a major stroke. Her father, Tom, now deceased, lost the use of his right side and his ability to speak. Multiple surgeries and rehabilitation treatments later, he was able to live at home with the help of nurses. But it was up to Caroline to provide daily care, such as overseeing appointments and handling certain nursing responsibilities, like managing his medications. “I became the person my father could rely on more than anyone in the world,” Caroline said. “I became his safe place and his best friend.” In communities across the country, family caregivers like Caroline are caring for older parents, spouses and other loved ones, helping them to remain at home – where they want to be. Their tasks are done out of love and commitment, but are not easy. That’s why AARP is fighting for family caregivers and their loved ones in every state. In 2018, AARP advanced new policies to provide more help at home, flexibility at work, training, relief and more, which will benefit over 30 million family caregivers. Here are a couple highlights:
November 27, 2018 08:55 AM
A few months ago, I wrote a blog about the vital role that transportation options play in what we at AARP call “livable communities” – great places to live for people of all ages. Being able to get around is critical to earn a living, raise a family, contribute and stay connected to your community and enjoy life. And, having alternatives to getting behind the wheel of your own car is particularly important for older adults who want to stay in their homes and communities as they age.