Biologic drug patent differences stall TPP agreement at Atlanta talks

Officials from the U.S., Japan and 10 other Asia Pacific-rim countries remain stalemated over an agreement for the Trans Pacific Partnership currently being negotiated in Atlanta with the length of patent protection for biologic drugs a key stumbling block, the Japan News said.

The U.S. is leading the charge to ensure biologics are extended data protection aking to U.S. law, a move that is backed by key lawmakers and pharmaceutical giants like Pfizer ($PFE) and Amgen ($AMGN), who say they need the protections because of the costs--$1 billion in some cases--involved in bringing biologic drugs to market.

Countries such as Australia and New Zealand however worry that extended protection for newer therapies would increase the costs associated with their national healthcare systems.

August's round of talks in Hawaii failed to reach an expected breakthrough despite reports that a sticking point on the length of data exclusivity for biologic drugs had come within reach. The Japan News said that the state-of-play in Atlanta saw opposition to an 8-year coverage for biologic drugs on data exclusivity.

The TPP is a so-called 21st Century effort on trade that would cover 40% of the global economy and link the United States and Japan with nations such as Colombia, Singapore and Vietnam into a vast network of rules on tariffs and access for goods from drugs to cars.

The original TPP negotiations were launched in 2010 and involved the United States, Australia, Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Malaysia, Mexico, Canada and Japan joined the talks later.

- here's the Japan News story