Americans want action to protect innovation

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Americans want their government to use trade agreements to protect the intellectual property of the country's biopharmaceutical industry.

In a recent survey of 1,902 Americans, conducted by Morning Consult, 94 percent of respondents ranked innovation as important to the economy. The biopharmaceutical industry was ranked second, behind technology, as the most innovative - 76 per cent said the biopharmaceutical industry was very or somewhat innovative.

The majority of respondents agreed the economy and its workers suffered when other countries failed to 'properly compensate' US innovators.

Over 60 per cent of respondents said the US needed to do more to ensure other countries properly compensate its innovators. Almost 70 per cent said the US should be doing more to prevent "other countries from infringing on trade deals" impacting innovation, including enforcement against violations.

The survey comes as the United States Trade Representative (USTR), acting under instruction from President Donald Trump, takes its first action against a country under an existing trade agreement.

President Trump also instructed the USTR earlier this year to conduct a study of pharmaceutical price differences between the US and other countries with possible action through trade agreements.

The USTR recently notified South Korea of its intention to renegotiate the free trade agreement signed in 2012. The agreement contains a pharmaceutical chapter with many of the transparency, accountability and process elements included in the US-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

The FTA also contains a structure, like the agreement between the US and South Korea, which allows for dispute resolution or amendments to the agreement.