Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) are a key component of countries that embrace the rule of law. IPR is critical for any economy that wants to foster a culture of innovation, risk taking, and entrepreneurship. Innovation and entrepreneurship can be expensive and risky. IPR provides some level of certainty that investments in innovation can be recaptured. The United States and The Kingdom of the Netherlands have always been strong supporters of IPR. We hope that continues.
It is for this reason that the U.S. Embassy is concerned about potential new Dutch government plans policies that undermine IPR for medicines.
We understand the Dutch government plans to implement policies to expand compulsory licensing and compounding of pharmaceuticals. Such policies send a clear message to companies that IPR in the Netherlands can be undermined or circumvented for short-term financial benefits. Such regulatory change could allow patented medicines to simply be replaced by a cheaper, non-patented copy. Apart from IPR problems, this could pose unnecessary risks to public health, as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has pointed out.
We have seen firsthand in our interaction during the June 2019 Global Entrepreneurship Summit and on numerous other occasions that the Dutch government recognizes the important role that IPR protections play in fostering innovation. This includes pharmaceutical innovation, which has been critical to people worldwide living longer and healthier lives. Prime Minister Rutte and the Dutch government want to create a European life sciences and health hub in the Netherlands, which the U.S. Embassy strongly supports. We believe that strong IPR protections are essential to realize this goal. We encourage the Dutch government and pharmaceutical industry to work collaboratively to address these concerns in a way that does not harm pharmaceutical IPR and the Dutch investment climate.