Former HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson debunks myths surrounding the USMCA’s biologics provision
WASHINGTON — Today, the Pass USMCA Coalition, an alliance advocating for swift passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, published a white paper by Tommy Thompson debunking the widespread myth that the USMCA will drive up drug prices.
Thompson, a former secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and four-term governor of Wisconsin, now advises the Pass USMCA Coalition. His paper examines the new trade agreement’s treatment of advanced, “biologic” medicines. Thompson concludes that the agreement will catalyze medical innovation.
In the agreement’s intellectual property chapter, Canada and Mexico are required to grant at least 10 years of “regulatory data protection” to these cutting-edge pharmaceuticals. Currently, the United States offers 12 years of regulatory data protection; Canada and Mexico offer eight years and zero years, respectively.
Some members of Congress take issue with this provision, claiming it will impact U.S. healthcare programs and raise domestic drug prices.
In his paper, Thompson dispels the myths. He reminds lawmakers that the USMCA does not require a change in domestic drug policy, and explains how the biologics provision “will not and cannot affect drug prices in the United States.” Thompson then demonstrates how the pact will benefit patients by helping American innovators develop the next generation of breakthrough treatments.
Thompson urges Congress to “stop its foot-dragging and vote on the USMCA for what it is: a trade bill that encourages other countries to meet existing U.S. standards.”
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