The EU Commission proposed to adjust intellectual property rules to help Europe’s pharmaceutical companies tap into fast-growing global markets and foster jobs, growth and investments in the EU.
Through its ‘targeted amendment’: the so-called ‘export manufacturing waiver’ to Supplementary Protection Certificates (SPCs), the EU executive says it wants to remove a major competitive disadvantage of EU manufacturers.
The EU’s intellectual property rights framework protects Europe’s know-how and sustains the pharmaceutical industry’s world-class innovation capacity. The Commission believes the proposal could generate EUR 1 billion net additional sales per year and up to 25,000 new jobs over 10 years. The proposal will particularly benefit the many small and medium-sized enterprises in the field.
According to Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska, responsible for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs: “In the medium term, more competition will improve patients’ access to a wider choice of medicines and alleviate public budgets.”
Supplementary Protection Certificates extend patent protection for medicinal products which must undergo lengthy testing and clinical trials prior to obtaining regulatory marketing approval.
Thanks to the waiver, in the future EU-based companies will be entitled to manufacture a generic or biosimilar version of an SPC-protected medicine during the term of the certificate, if done exclusively for the purpose of exporting to a non-EU market where protection has expired or never existed.
With the waiver, intellectual property (IP) protection for medicine production in Europe will remain the strongest in the world and SPC-protected medicines will retain their full market exclusivity in the EU.
The proposal is accompanied by a series of safeguards which will create transparency and prevent IP-infringing products from entering Member State markets. The proposals follows a number of studies, extensive consultation and a European Parliament resolution endorsing the need to introduce before 2019 an SPC manufacturing waiver.