Trump may loosen drug patent protections to push trade pact

The pharmaceutical industry could be in for a loss as the Trump administration considers easing patent protection rules in order to garner support from Democrats for a new trade pact between the U.S., Mexico and Canada­––USMCA, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The current intellectual-property protections give pharmaceutical companies an established length of time (12 years) where their brand name, patented drugs are protected from generic imitators. Democrats and other groups want this length of time reduced to 10 years to encourage lower drug prices. Ten years is the amount of time for protections in the USMCA.

The Trump administration is also looking for support for a drug importation policy that would enable the U.S. to import cheaper drugs from Canada and Mexico. It has been met with backlash from the pharmaceutical industry and a lack of support from Canada, which is unsure it has the ability to supply the U.S. in addition to its own residents.

Democrats have held up ratification of the trade pact as they seek changes.

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