[THE INVESTOR] A US drug industry lobbying group has urged the Office of the United States Trade Representative to take action on Korea’s drug pricing policy and intellectual property rights issues which it claims depreciate the value of US products.
“Korea’s drug pricing policies severely devalue US IP and favor Korea’s own pharmaceutical industry at the expense of US companies. As a result, America’s cutting-edge R&D and manufacturing sectors are losing out,” the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America was quoted as saying in the USTR’s annual Special 301 report that identifies trade barriers to local companies and products due to IPR issues.
The PRMA represents major US biopharmaceutical research companies including Pfizer, Sanofi, Novartis, Eli Lilly, Johnson & Johnson and Bayer.
The group called on USTR to name Korea, Canada and Malaysia as “Priority Foreign Countries” -- a designation reserved for countries with the most onerous and egregious IP or market access practices that are harming manufacturers and jobs in the US.
The group also said the US government should make clear that Korea’s pricing practices are inconsistent with its commitments under the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement.
If the proposal is accepted, the measure could take a toll on Korea’s pharma industry, following the Trump administration’s threat to impose steep curbs on steel imports, including those from Korea to protect its homegrown industries after slapping bigger taxes on washers and solar panels in January.
In response, Korea’s Ministry of Health and Welfare has reportedly sent a 36-page letter to the USTR that refutes such claims on Feb. 23. The ministry could not be reached for comment.
By Park Han-na (firstname.lastname@example.org)