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Susan Davis

Drug patent dispute emerges as obstacle to Pacific trade deal

LAHAINA, Hawaii Drug patent rules are shaping up as one of the thorniest issues standing in the way of a massive Asia-Pacific trade deal as talks get under way in Hawaii. The dispute pits the administration of President Barack Obama and the pharmaceutical industry against poorer countries participating in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, such as Chile, Malaysia, Peru and Vietnam. At issue is a class of drugs called biologics. Developing nations are allied with richer countries like Australia, who don't want to adopt U.S. rules that let drug companies keep confidential clinical data generated to win regulatory approval for such products. The patent disagreement is one of many that...