Made in America Week: Celebrating America’s Vibrant Biopharma Industry

This week is “Made in America Week.” According to the president, this is a time to pay special tribute to U.S. innovators, builders, entrepreneurs, and “all those who work with their hands every day to make America great.”

We certainly have a lot to celebrate! As Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Andrei Iancu notes:

“’Made in America’ is synonymous with great American inventions that have benefited not only Americans, but all mankind… For more than two centuries, the halls of the USPTO have seen more than 10 million patents representing inventions that have positively impacted the course of human events, leading to healthier, more productive, and more prosperous lives.”

America’s biopharma industry is a perfect example of the power of U.S. innovation. This is especially evident in its response to the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, a disease which has taken over one million lives globally and more than 210,000 lives here in the United States, according to data from Johns Hopkins. But thanks in large part to U.S. scientists and researchers:

  • There are close to 750 unique active compounds in development to fight COVID-19, including 190 vaccines.
  • More than half of those treatments are being researched and developed in U.S. labs – more than all other countries combined.
  • We have been able to mobilize faster than ever before to develop new treatments for those with COVID-19, as well as safe and effective vaccines to help stop its spread.

Check out BIO’s full COVID-19 pipeline tracker data here for a more in depth analysis and weekly updates of industry progress.

It’s not just COVID-19: America’s biopharma industry has long led the world in drug innovation that benefits patients suffering from a variety of chronic illnesses. More than half of the roughly 8,000 treatments in development globally are byproducts of U.S. labs. This includes 1,200 therapies to fight cancer, 566 medicines targeting rare diseases, and 200 treatments for heart disease and stroke.

America’s vibrant innovation ecosystem is no accident. It’s a direct and intentional result of decades of smart, forward-thinking policies that incentivize and reward innovation:

  • Patent protections drive innovation of both new and improved products, as one example.
  • The Hatch-Waxman Act, meanwhile, has helped advance new medical discoveries and future competition to drive down costs.
  • And the Bayh-Dole Act has created a framework for private companies to take early-stage publicly-backed research and turn it into a tangible product or medicine that benefits patients.

Thanks to these laws and protections, private sector companies have been able to usher in the next generation of lifesaving medicines. Unfortunately, America’s innovation economy is under attack by some policy makers who mistakenly believe the government is the primary driver of U.S. drug innovation. That’s a shame and jeopardizes the very innovative ecosystem so many patients are relying on to beat their debilitating diseases.

The scientists and researchers who make up America’s biopharma industry are responsible for some of the every-day therapies helping Americans live longer and healthier lives. As Dr. Betsy Nabel of Harvard Medical School and Brigham Health puts it, “If we want American firms to continue producing lifesaving treatments, we need to protect them.”

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