Thursday, May 7, 2009

US Drug makers Express Concern with USA Trading Partner Countries

The US Trade Representative (USTR) released its 2009 Special 301 Report on Friday May 1, 2009. According to the report, US drug makers have expressed concern over the policies of a number of USA’s trading partners - including Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand and Taiwan in regards to global intellectual property protection.

“In this time of economic uncertainty, we need to redouble our efforts to work with all of our trading partners – even our closest allies and neighbors such as Canada – to enhance protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights in the context of a rules-based trading system,” said the USTR, Ambassador Ron Kirk.

The USTR Priority Watch List for 2009 names countries requiring particular scrutiny - Algeria, Argentina, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Pakistan, Taiwan, Thailand and Venezuela. Canada was added to list for the first time this year, due to “increasing concern about the continuing need for copyright reform, as well as continuing concern about weak border enforcement.”

Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and Russia are listed as areas where the manufacture of counterfeit drugs is rampant.

Indonesia joins the list for its counterfeit manufacturing, its counterfeit drug trade and the introduction last year’s law on the operation of foreign pharmaceutical companies that raises “significant market access concerns;”

China is also listed due to its regulatory lapse in the enforcement of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) – since often these ingredients are not declared as a bulk chemical intended for use in pharmaceuticals by API makers to avoid regulatory oversight.

To read a recap on the USTR Report visit Pharma Times.

It is understandable that China’s lack of regulatory control for APIs would be of particular concern to the US since China provides 40% of the APIs for drugs. The impact of this danger was felt dramatically last year when an adulterated substance added by a Chinese supplier resulted in the heparin recall and almost 100 deaths in the United States.

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