Will the administration capitalize on the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework to drive medical innovation?

In December 2022, the United States launched negotiations for the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) with thirteen countries throughout the Indo-Pacific region, including Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan and Korea. PhRMA has encouraged the Biden Administration to negotiate a comprehensive and ambitious agreement, including in April 2022 public comments submitted to the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC). Such an agreement would include strong intellectual property (IP) protections and predictable and transparent market access, regulatory and other provisions that advance scientific research, incentivize invention and production of medicines, dismantle unfair trade barriers, and improve the ability of U.S. biopharmaceutical manufacturers to export medicines to reach patients throughout the Indo-Pacific region.

Unfortunately, the Administration announced a much less ambitious agenda and, despite the constant chorus of concerns expressed by Congress, the business community and other stakeholders, has continued to pursue a limited and shortsighted IPEF agreement. Meanwhile, Indo-Pacific trade partners have a strong appetite for robust U.S. trade engagement, and the United States’ major economic competitors are advancing trade negotiations to promote their domestic industries and gain market share throughout the region.

In a newly released fact sheet, PhRMA reiterates the strong need for the Administration to course correct and drive medical innovation and patient access through IPEF. At a minimum, the Administration should use this week’s March 13-19 negotiating round in Indonesia to establish medicines working groups and advance open digital trade practices, good regulatory practices and improved trade facilitation policies. More broadly, the Administration should recommit the United States to an ambitious trade agenda and more meaningful commercial engagement in the Indo-Pacific region.

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