Svensk Tidskrift behind statement on EU’s intellectual property incentives review

Svensk Tidskrift stand together with civil society organisations around the union in signing a statement calling for the EU to put innovation at the center of its intellectual property incentives review.

The soon-to-be-released European Commission review of pharmaceutical innovation incentives is likely to recommend weakening key intellectual property (IP) rights to cut spending on medicines and boost generic drug manufacturing.

Europe is suffering from a number of demographic and economic pressures which mean the EU should proceed with caution.

Innovation is of paramount importance to Europe’s future economic growth. Yet EU member states underspend on Research and Development (R&D) and are outperformed by peer nations, with various emerging markets catching up fast.

European societies are ageing and there is an urgent need for new technological solutions to mitigate the economic and fiscal effects. More new medicines are needed against diseases that are prevalent among older people, such as neurological conditions and cancer.

Strong protection for intellectual property rights can help. Europe’s current high standards here have contributed to the EU life sciences sector’s relatively strong performance.

Nevertheless, as part of its incentives review the EC may propose weakening Supplementary Protection Certificates, a key intellectual property right.

Weaker SPCs would undermine research into the diseases of ageing, already difficult due to a combination of fixed-patent terms and growing timelines for mandatory clinical tests.

Several studies conclude the EU’s life sciences sector would be harmed too. Europe’s innovation performance and international competitiveness would suffer at a time when competitors elsewhere are upgrading and reforming their IP systems.

The EC’s review, aimed partly at limiting medicines spending, may inadvertently undermine innovation. This would exacerbate predicted spending increases for long-term and out-patient care.

To promote innovation in the EU and to encourage R&D into diseases associated with ageing, we recommend the EC should maintain its internationally competitive standards of IPR protection.

Read the full paper here.

Anders Ydstedt is the Chairman of Svensk Tidskrift