Fight over drug protections hampers Pacific trade deal

US Trade Representative Michael Froman(C) takes a break from negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade treaty in Atlanta, Georgia to visit the Colgate mattress factory on October 1, 2015The arrival of senior US congressional aides at the hotel site of the Trans-Pacific Partnership in Atlanta pointed to the possibility that top trade officials from 12 countries were close to a deal. Pressure was intense on negotiators, especially those from the Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and the United States to not undercut important home businesses as they bargain over the remaining issues involving the auto and dairy trades and protections for the drug patents of pharmaceutical companies. Although the auto and dairy trade issues remained table, officials involved said the main barrier to a final deal is the length of intellectual property (IP) protection for biologics, a promising class of treatments derived from living materials.

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