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Archived updates for Friday, December 09, 2005

Peru Agrees to Drug Data Exclusivity Restrictions

According to Martin Vaughan writing for Intellectual Property Watch on December 9, 2005, Peru has agreed to enforce restrictions on the use of pharmaceutical test data for name-brand drugs for five years after the drug is registered, and for ten years for agrochemicals as part of a US-Peru free trade pact concluded on December 7.

Negotiations on a broader an Andean-U.S. Trade Agreement in November stalled over similar issues in November of this year. However, Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo was reportedly eager to conclude a deal with the United States before Peru’s presidential elections early next year, and chose to continue negotiating with the US on its own.

The data protection language in the agreement is the same as what has been included in other US free trade agreements like the Central America Free Trade Agreement, the official said. It goes beyond what is required by the World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, because the TRIPS agreement does not specify a period for protecting test data, among other things.US officials contend that without such protections, drug companies may not launch innovative medicines in developing countries.

However, James Love, Director of the Consumer Project on Technology, said the Peru agreement is an example of how insistence on strict intellectual property protections in poor countries hurts the US image abroad. He noted that Peru’s small economy would not provide a large market for US pharmaceutical firms. “We give up a lot of goodwill to give Pfizer what is essentially a rounding error on their balance sheet,” he said.
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