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North America trade pact deals rare setback to Big Pharma

December 20, 2019 / PAUL WISEMAN
SHARESHARESHARE

A revamped North American trade deal nearing passage in Congress gives both the White House and Democrats a chance to claim victory and offers farmers and businesses clearer rules governing the vast flow of goods among the United States, Canada and Mexico. But the pact leaves at least one surprising loser: the pharmaceutical industry, a near-invincible lobbying powerhouse in Washington. To satisfy House Democrats, the Trump administration removed a provision that would have given the makers of ultra-expensive biologic drugs 10 years of protection from less expensive knockoffs. Democrats opposed what they called a giveaway to the industry that could have locked in inflated prices by stifling competition. Top examples of the injected drugs made from living cells include medications to fight cancer and immune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis.