U.S. considers easing drug protection to break deadlock over trade pact: Wall Street Journal

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FILE PHOTO: Pharmaceutical tablets and capsules are arranged in the shape of a U.S. dollar sign on a table in this picture illustration taken in Ljubljana August 20, 2014. REUTERS/Srdjan Zivulovic

(Reuters) – The Trump administration is considering scaling back intellectual-property protections for biologic drugs by big drugmakers to help win Democratic support for a new trade pact with Mexico and Canada, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Democrats are pushing the administration to reduce the length of time that leading biologic drugs would be protected from generic imitators in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, the WSJ reported.

The Trump administration, eager to win passage of USMCA, is considering dropping to 10 years from 12 years as a way to get Democrats on board, according to the Journal.

Democrats and others want that time period reduced, or at least new language to allow for a reduction in the 10 years if U.S. domestic law changes, the WSJ reported.

Biologic drugs, which often list for hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, are the most expensive medicines used in treating ailments such as cancer and rheumatoid arthritis.

Reporting by C Nivedita in Bengaluru

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