The Politics of Innovation

  • by: |
  • 03/10/2014

BioCentury reports that “President Obama has again proposed to shorten the exclusivity period for innovator biologics in his FY15 budget proposal. According to HHS's summary, the president's budget request includes a proposal to cut the exclusivity period to seven years from the current 12 years. Obama proposed the same change in his FY14 budget request.”

It’s hugely disappointing that the same man who (as a United States Senator) once said that …

“Realizing the promise of personalized medicine will require continued federal leadership and agency collaboration; expansion and acceleration of genomics research; a capable genomics workforce; incentives to encourage development of genomic tests and therapies; and greater attention to the quality of genetic tests, direct-to-consumer advertising and use of personal genomic information."

 … is now advocating a policy that would result in precisely the opposite.

 After speaking (and in a widely quoted op-ed in the Wall Street Journal) about the need for America to embrace innovation – President Obama is trying to make it more difficult, specifically when it comes to the desire to invest in pharmaceutical innovation – a sure bet under no circumstances.

Patent exclusivity funds an innovator company’s research and development efforts. If the President’s proposal becomes law, the US would provide less data protection for innovative biologics than Europe.

12 years of exclusivity also gives hope to those suffering from rare diseases or conditions. If innovator companies think they will have a short time before a follow-on versions of their products hit on the market, they will likely only focus on drugs for major diseases and conditions -- potentially ignoring ailments that are less common, but equally as serious, to those suffering.

If innovation is one of the key answers to our national economic recovery, then the President should abide by what he said, “Our economy is not a zero-sum game. Regulations do have costs; often, as a country, we have to make tough decisions about whether those costs are necessary. But what is clear is that we can strike the right balance. We can make our economy stronger and more competitive, while meeting our fundamental responsibilities to one another.”


Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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