Protect Montana’s Innovators, “Transparency” Legislation Is Wrong Approach

Montana manufacturers, technology companies and other research-based operations are global innovators. Manufacturers in particular account for more than three-quarters of all private-sector research and development (R&D) in the United States. R&D is critical to the success of the countless Montana enterprises that rely on innovation. And in an extremely competitive global economy, if a company isn’t innovating, it’s falling behind.

This is especially true for biopharmaceutical manufacturers creating new medicines for patients and animals. However, the price of manufacturing a new medicine is extremely costly and risky. On average, it takes a decade to bring a new patient medicine through the entire R&D process and into the marketplace, and only about 12 percent of the medicines that enter the process are actually approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Therefore, it is absolutely critical that manufacturers’ R&D and proprietary information are not compromised.

Unfortunately, “transparency” legislation was recently introduced in Montana that would force biopharmaceutical manufacturers to turn over highly confidential information and proprietary data related to R&D as well as sales and marketing costs. This approach would have damaging effects and would not reduce health care costs. Requiring manufacturers to publicly reveal a breakdown of specific costs and information related to trade secrets would in no way benefit consumers and could impede competition, which would drive up costs.

The time, effort and costs associated with bringing new medicines or products to market must be acknowledged and valued. While this specific bill is targeted at manufacturers of medicine, it sets an alarming precedent for manufacturers across all industries. In short, it’s a slippery slope for all industries once established.  Any legislation that jeopardizes manufacturers’ highly confidential information and deters innovators from innovating is a threat to consumers, manufacturing jobs and the state’s economy.

The manufacturing industry employs more than 18,700 Montanans in high-skilled and high-wage jobs. Policymakers in Montana and at the federal level should work to create policies that help innovators attract and retain investment. The NAM opposes any efforts that would invalidate longstanding intellectual property and trade secrets protections and force manufacturers of medicines to heed new government-driven demands that are contrary to basic free market principles.

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