Drugmakers Must Protect Their Trade Secrets (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

A recent editorial on drug price legislation (“Prescription for Clarity: Vermont Lawmakers Shed Light on High Drug Prices,” May 17) confused key issues relating to drug prices, and the Vermont legislation is no antidote for patients or highly innovative manufacturers.

Manufacturers understand the need to reduce health care costs, but we have serious concerns related to the long-term implications of pharmaceutical pricing transparency proposals. Protection of trade secrets and intellectual property is a necessity for manufacturers to succeed in today’s intensely competitive global marketplace. No industry should be forced to turn over highly sensitive, proprietary information to any government — state or federal.

Trade secrets, which include pricing information, are protected by both federal and state laws. Any proposal at the state or federal level that requires manufacturers to turn over and reveal highly sensitive operational information — such as pricing on specific products, marketing costs, planned research investments, anticipated profits and manufacturing production costs — sets a dangerous precedent that will deliver chilling impacts to our global competitiveness and prospects for economic growth.

Pennsylvania should think carefully about the signals it wants to send researchers and innovators who constitute the manufacturing community. For the biopharmaceutical industry, transparency legislation would stifle innovation and impede the ability of companies to bring new, lifesaving medicines to market.

Manufacturing is one of the key industries in Pennsylvania, accounting for almost 10 percent of the workforce — that’s 568,000 employees in 2015. Innovation and protection of intellectual property is part of the equation to keeping these jobs. Policymakers in Pennsylvania should work to create opportunities that help innovators attract and retain investment.

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