TPP deadlocked on biologics with Japan and U.S. standing fast

The latest round of meetings by the dozen Trans-Pacific Partnership nations once again failed to come up with a solution for the dispute between developed countries and emerging markets over the length of pharmaceutical patents, particularly for biologics.

The United States and Japan, the largest economies in the group and where drugmakers have the most muscle, stood fast on longer patent terms during the three days of talks in Hawaii. The meeting wrapped up with the negotiators instructing their staffs to try to come up with an agreement, according to a report by Nikkei.

The span of the disagreement stretches from U.S. law granting 12 years for biologics, among the world's longest data exclusivity periods, to the 5 to 8 years granted by emerging markets if they have such laws, where the emphasis is on cheaper drugs for greater access in poorer nations.

Under the rubric of intellectual property, the pharma issue was tied up as part of just one of the 7 major issues before the TPP. As such, it reportedly served as a bargaining chip for other areas, according to a source cited by Nikkei.

Meanwhile, the United States and Japan have been having trouble working out their own bilateral trade agreement, which both sides want ironed out before Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visits near the end of April.

- here's the story from Nikkei