Trade Agreements

Lilly supports the pursuit of public policies in free trade agreements that promote innovation, require protection of intellectual property rights, and remove critical barriers to market access to ensure patients around the world have access to safe and innovative medicines and treatments.

The biopharmaceutical industry is an important driver of high-quality, innovative job creation in the U.S., investing more per employee in R&D than other manufacturing sectors. The industry is a significant contributor to U.S. economic growth. The direct contribution to U.S. Gross Domestic Product GDP in 2008 was $114.6 billion.  Job contribution was most than double the average in the rest of the economy.

These figures are driven by exports for foreign countries. In 2009, the industry exported $46 billion, or approximately five percent of total U.S. goods exports, making the U.S. the third largest pharmaceutical exporter. The biopharmaceutical sector is the second largest U.S. export sector following aerospace products and parts. 

Critical elements within trade agreements include:

  • An agreed upon set of principles that recognize access to innovative medicines as a key part of high quality healthcare system and the role medicines can play a role in reducing overall healthcare expenditures
  • Protection of confidential information from disclosure and unfair commercial use (data exclusivity) in line with US standards for medicines (five years) and biologics (12 years)
  • Standards for enforcement of patent rights including patent protection without discrimination, regardless of technology; guarantee of patent protection, regardless whether patents are made locally or imported; and a standard term of protection (20 years from filing date)
  • Adjustment of the term of the patent to account for unreasonable regulatory delays that occur because of patent registration and marketing approval
  • Improved transparency in government pricing, reimbursement, and listing decision processes through: public participation in rulemaking processes; independent review of product listing decisions; increased and formal communication between public payers and sponsors throughout pricing and listing negotiations; and an independent committee co-chaired by health and trade authorities to ensure health policies promote a vibrant biopharmaceutical industry.