Harming Innovation Will Not Win the Future
Wednesday, April 20, 2011 3:04 pm | By Kelsey Zahourek

Last week when President Obama submitted his second budget proposal, much of the criticism was aimed at the trillions of dollars in tax hikes included within the plan. Of course, tax increases are extremely bad policy but I will leave that argument to my colleagues at Americans for Tax Reform. Also included within the Obama proposal is a plan that harms medical innovation and threatens the future of life-saving medicines that have transformed health care in America.

The United States currently has one of the strongest and fastest growing biotech and pharmaceutical industries in the world. The reason for this is innovators have been afforded a period of time in which they are allowed to recoup the costs of their investments before a generic comes to market. Obama’s 2012 budget undermines this ability by calling for a decrease in the data exclusivity period, the time in which a generic manufacturer may use the innovator’s research data, for brand biologics from 12 years to 7 years.

Biologics are drugs derived from living organisms and much more complex than traditional single molecule pharmaceuticals. Biologic drugs being researched today have been proven effective against diseases like cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis and diabetes. Research and development is very expensive (the average price of bringing a new biologic to market exceeds $1 billion) and companies need to have an incentive to keep inventing life-saving drugs.

For years, a debate was waged in Congress, not on whether to establish an approval pathway, but rather how long a data exclusivity period, should be granted. At twelve years data exclusivity, companies are just beginning to counter-balance the billions of dollars spent in investments. Denying companies enough time to gain back their investments would be extremely damaging to future innovations in this important field. The right balance needs to be struck that promotes competition and innovation. Granting a seven-year exclusivity period falls far short.

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PRA Letter Supporting "Private Property Rights Protection Act"
Tuesday, April 12, 2011 11:27 am | By Kelsey Zahourek

Today, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution is holding a hearing on H.R. 1433, the "Private Property Rights Protection Act," co-sponsored by Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA). H.R. 1433 would suspend Federal economic development funds for a period of two fiscal years to any state that takes property through eminent domain for a private purpose. It will also allow private property owners legal recourse to fight private property takings by state and local governments that are used for private purposes.

The letter states:

As a result of the Supreme Court’s 2005 ruling in Kelo v. City of New London, the government’s power of eminent domain has become almost limitless, providing victimized citizens with few means to protect their property...

Several states have independently passed legislation to limit their power to eminent domain, and the Supreme Courts of Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio have barred the practice under their state constitutions. This bill will provide American citizens in every state with the means to protect their private property from exceedingly unsubstantiated claims of eminent domain...

Although many states have already acted, Congress must play a pivotal role in reforming the use and abuse of eminent domain.

Click here to read the entire letter.


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PRA Releases 2011 International Property Rights Index: U.S. Falls Behind in Rankings
Tuesday, March 22, 2011 8:10 am | By Kelsey Zahourek

View pdf of the release

The Property Rights Alliance is proud to announce the release of the 2011 International Property Rights Index (IPRI), which measures the intellectual and physical property rights of 129 nations from around the world. This year, sixty-seven international organizations partnered with the Property Rights Alliance in Washington, DC and its Hernando de Soto Fellowship program to produce the fifth annual IPRI.

The IPRI uses three primary areas of property rights to create a composite score: Legal and Political Environment (LP), Physical Property Rights (PPR), and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). Most importantly, the IPRI emphasizes the great economic differences between countries with strong property rights and those without. Nations falling in the first quintile enjoy an average national GDP per capita of $38,350; more than double that of the second quintile with an average of $18,701. The third, fourth, and fifth quintiles average $9,316, $5,065, and $4,785 respectively.

In this year’s report, the United States fell to 18th place with a score of 7.5 out of a possible 10.0. This is the lowest the United States has scored since the reports inception in 2007. According to the report, the most significant decline is seen in the PPR subcomponent, decreasing 0.7 points to a score of 7.1. The United States highest score was in IPR with a score of 8.4.

“In a time of economic turbulence and financial uncertainty, all nations should be seeking solutions that will provide stability. Strong property rights is one key component,” stated PRA executive director Kelsey Zahourek, “While the United States still enjoys fairly strong property rights, its recent decline in the rankings should be cause for concern. From eminent domain abuses in New Jersey and California to new regulations that seek to gain control of the market, actions that weaken America’s property rights foundation pose a serious threat to its economic vitality.”

The International Property Rights Index will provide the public, researchers and policymakers, from across the globe, with a tool for comparative analysis and future research on global property rights. The Index seeks to assist underperforming countries to develop robust economies through an emphasis on sound property law.

To view entire report click here

For more information visit

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