In a 5-4 ruling, the US Supreme Court has agreed to uphold Presidential Proclamation 9645, which suspends the entry of foreign nationals into the US from Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, and Somalia.
According to the White House, these countries fail “to meet minimum baseline requirements from immigration screening and vetting… The ruling affirms the legality of the President’s actions, and will allow the federal government to ensure the security of the United States.”
Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (MassBio) – a non-profit organisation representing academic institutions, associations and biopharmaceutical firms in the area, including AbbVie, Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline, and Iontas – has spoken out against the travel ban.
“The life sciences industry thrives every day because of immigrants,” said MassBio CEO Robert Coughlin in a statement, adding: “The immigration travel ban will deny life sciences companies the opportunity to hire the best and brightest regardless of their religious beliefs or country of origin.”
According to Coughlin, the travel ban will not solely restrict immigration from the seven countries listed in the ruling: “We already know from the first attempts at implementing this policy that it will also slow legal immigration from other countries because foreigners no longer feel welcome or safe in America.”
US to fall behind EU and China?
While the US remains the largest global pharmaceutical market, worth 25% of global share alone, a recent report published by Business Research Company states pharmerging countries India and China are growing at twice the pace.
In light of Trump’s travel ban, Coughlin said the US may also be at risk of losing its leading innovation position: “With Europe and even China fighting to take our place as the leader of life sciences innovation, this policy opens the door wide for our country to lose out.”
“Disease knows no borders and neither does scientific innovation,” he added.
MassBio has committed to continue working with member companies and employees “facing uncertainty as a result of the Court’s decision.”