Written answers

Thursday, 7 November 2019

Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

Intellectual Property Management

Photo of Robert TroyRobert Troy (Longford-Westmeath, Fianna Fail)
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122. To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if she will consider carrying out an analysis of the impact of patent expiry and other risks for biological medicines on medicines production, that is, manufacturing here and related employment and foreign direct investment impacts; and if she discussed this matter with the Minister for Finance. [46005/19]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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The Irish life sciences manufacturing sector has grown significantly in recent years with a range of significant investments from overseas companies, along with start-ups and high-growth SMEs. The global top ten biopharmaceutical companies each now have a manufacturing presence in Ireland. Indigenous firms are also highly innovative and are competing successfully in global markets.

Ireland's strong international reputation in pharmaceutical manufacturing has been hard-earned. It is the product of a long track record as a successful home to pharma firms, an effective regulatory framework and the high esteem in which the industry's highly qualified workforce here is held. Another key consideration has been the continued quality and safety of medicines manufactured here and the important role that the Health Products Regulatory Authority has played in this context.

Patent protection for medicinal products in the EU and in Ireland remains amongst the most robust in the world. That protection is underpinned by international treaties, EU regulations and national legislation. This has contributed to Ireland's ability to attract investments of scale in pharmaceutical manufacturing.

The time-scale of patents is an important consideration for companies in the biopharmaceutical sector. However, I understand those same firms consider a range of other issues when making commercial decisions on their long-term presence or growth plans in a jurisdiction. The IDA continues to work closely with all its clients in this area to better understand how these various factors, including those related to patent-expiry, could impact on their operations in Ireland.

It should be noted as well that the industry itself is responding to challenges associated with patent expiry through the development of innovative new treatments and products. Ireland continues to win new innovative investments in small and large molecule manufacture and the evolving area of cell and gene therapies. This is a result of IDA Ireland’s continuing engagement with its clients on all aspects of the industry, with a view to generating new employment opportunities and consolidating Ireland’s reputation in the pharmaceutical manufacturing sector.


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