WASHINGTON, DC (June 18, 2020) — The Association for Accessible Medicines (AAM) welcomed U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Robert Lighthizer’s commitment during his testimony yesterday before the House Ways and Means Committee that the free trade agreement currently being negotiated, including with the United Kingdom, will not contain a provision requiring 10-years of biologic exclusivity.
“USMCA’s pharmaceutical provisions effectively balance support for innovation with the encouragement of the competition that leads to lower prices and expanded access," said Jonathan Kimball, AAM Vice President for Trade and International Affairs. “Ambassador Lighthizer’s commitment is an important step toward ensuring these provisions remain the template for all trade agreements going forward.”
As biosimilars continue to gain traction in the U.S. and globally, eliminating barriers to competition benefits patients with complex and chronic diseases who increasingly rely on these new medicines.
At the same time, AAM is concerned about Ambassador Lighthizer’s expression of support for tariffs as a mechanism for encouraging production of pharmaceuticals in the United States.
“AAM fully supports an open trading system that ensures patients have access to necessary medicines and medical supplies," said Kimball. “As the COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated, patient access to health care treatments can be threatened by national trade policies that put domestic interests ahead of the free flow of medicines and medical products. Minimizing tariff and no-tariff barriers is the best way to ensure the integrity of the U.S. pharmaceutical supply chain, even as we work to expand domestic production of critical medicines.”
AAM is driven by the belief that access to safe, quality, effective medicine has a tremendous impact on a person’s life and the world around them. Generic and biosimilar medicines improve people’s lives, improving society and the economy in turn. AAM represents the manufacturers and distributors of finished generic pharmaceuticals and biosimilars, manufacturers and distributors of bulk pharmaceutical chemicals, and suppliers of other goods and services to the generic industry. Generic pharmaceuticals are 90 percent of prescriptions dispensed in the U.S. but only 22 percent of total drug spending.
About the Biosimilars Council
The Biosimilars Council, a division of the Association for Accessible Medicines (AAM), works to ensure a positive environment for patient access to biosimilar medicines. The Biosimilars Council is a leading source for information about the safety and efficacy of more affordable alternatives to costly brand biologic medicines. Areas of focus include public and health expert education, strategic partnerships, government affairs, legal affairs and regulatory policy. More information is available at www.biosimilarscouncil.org.