Sen. Orrin Hatch helped Pres. Obama push through the Pacific Rim trade deal over congressional objections earlier this year, but now he may block its implementation due to concerns about how the accord will impact drug makers’ monopoly protections abroad.
Senator Orrin G. Hatch, with his long record of promoting trade, was a natural and crucial Republican ally for President Obama earlier this year, helping him conclude negotiations among 12 Pacific Rim nations on the largest regional trade accord in history.
But now that the deal is done, another longstanding record of Mr. Hatch’s — as perhaps the pharmaceutical industry’s single biggest advocate on Capitol Hill — has helped turn him into the principal impediment to Congress’s approval of the legacymaking agreement in Mr. Obama’s final year.
In a vast deal covering myriad goods and services, Mr. Hatch is objecting to language that would limit brandname drug makers’ monopoly protections abroad for their new, cuttingedge medicines known as biologics. In recent days he went so far as to call for the agreement to be renegotiated, during a speech at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which backs the accord.