Lilly supports strong and effective protection of intellectual property rights, including patent protection for pharmaceutical products. The biopharmaceutical industry is dependent upon this protection, which grants the inventor of a new product an exclusive, yet limited, period to develop and market the product.
Without intellectual property protection, pharmaceutical research companies would not be able to recoup the approximately $800 million to $1.3 billion that they invest, on average, to discover and develop each new drug. Lack of strong intellectual property rights would have a chilling effect on the industry's ability to bring new lifesaving drugs to patients around the world.
Lilly recognizes the importance of international efforts that seek to improve and harmonize intellectual property protection throughout the world. We continue to support international trade agreements that facilitate the implementation of effective patent protection for pharmaceutical products in important markets that formerly provided inadequate protection.
Lilly also recognizes the significant contributions that U.S. trade laws and the World Trade Organization (WTO) rules have made in the area of intellectual property protection. We support their continued use to encourage developing countries to provide effective patent protection for pharmaceutical products. Adherence to WTO standards of intellectual property protection stimulates economic growth (through increased investment and retention of local talent) and ensures the availability of innovative medicines. However, Lilly does not seek patents in Least Developed Countries (as defined by the WTO).