[Ip-health] Pfizer asked USTR to block Malaysia requirement on drug price transparency. September 2018

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Wed Nov 28 07:23:24 PST 2018

Pfizer asked USTR to block Malaysia requirement on drug price transparency.
September 2018

Posted on November 28, 2018 <https://www.keionline.org/29272> by James Love

KEI has received Pfizer and USTR emails and a Pfizer briefing memo to USTR
from September 2017, asking the USTR to block a Malaysia Requirement to
disclose drug prices.

The documents were obtained under a Freedom of Information request to USTR.
This is a two page PDF file for three emails and the one page briefing
document that Pfizer provided to the USTR.

>From MacSlarrow, Jasper (@pfizer.com)
Sep 8, 2017, at 7:58 PM,
RE: Meeting today

Karl – great speaking with you today. Appreciate your interest and
willingness to engage our issues in the region.

I will get back to you with some more detail about the Malaysia situation.
And let’s definitely stay in touch – I like the idea of doing a call every
now and then. I will also likely be in WADC in December. As soon as I know
my details I’ll let you know and perhaps we can find some time to meet.

Safe travels – will see you soon.

Jasper MacSlarrow International Public Affairs – Asia | Pfizer | Hong Kong
From: Ehlers, Karl R. EOP/USTR [mailto:Karl_R._Ehlers(a)ustr.eop.gov]
September 9, 2017 10:07 PM
To: MacSlarrow, Jasper (Pfizer)
Subject: [EXTERNAL] Re: Meeting today


It was great to meet and always happy to help – feel free to get in touch
any time and would be happy to learn more about any issues you have. Hope
the ASEAN meetings went well.

Best, Karl

Sent from my iPhone

From: “MacSlarrow, Jasper” @pfizer.com>
To: “Ehlers, Karl R. EOP/USTR”
Date: Sat, 09 Sep 2017 21:34:03 -0400
Subject: RE: Meeting today

Attachments 2017-9-8 – Malaysia Price Disclosure Requirement

Sound good – attached is the one-pager on the Malaysian issue. Hopefully
our DC team will follow up with you. I raised it when we met with the
Malaysian Trade Minister and he didn’t seem too concerned.

Safe travels back home and I’ll talk to you soon!

September 7, 2017
Briefing Paper for USG
Requirement to Disclose Confidential Prices

The Malaysian Ministry of Health is in the process of amending the Control
of Drugs and Cosmetics Regulations to create a new regulation that empowers
the Senior Director of Pharmaceutical Services to mandate the disclosure of
prices throughout the pharmaceutical supply chain. In particular, they
intend to mandate disclosure of the medicine’s landing price,
ex-manufacturer price, wholesale price, retail price and any other price
from all parties involved in the sale of registered medicines. This
amendment is expected to be sent to the Cabinet in October, with a view of
implementing it in January 2018.

This proposed amendment raises serious concerns for the pharmaceutical
industry in Malaysia. Implementation of this policy will require companies
to provide commercially sensitive information that is confidential and
proprietary, which is inconsistent with international practice and also
raises competition issues.

It is unclear whether the trade and competition authorities have been
included in the Ministry of Health’s decision-making process. We believe
outreach by the U.S. government to trade officials in Malaysia would be
helpful to highlight the problems with the proposed policy.

Talking Points/Asks

   - Industry has serious concerns about the proposed Price Structure
   Mechanism under the MOH Strategic Plan of Action 2016-2020.
   - Industry indicates that the Ministry of Health — in an effort to
   promote price transparency – will empower the Senior Director of the
   Ministry to demand full price disclosure at any point in time from any
   - In addition to being contrary to international practice, we understand
   that Malaysian law protects upstream price information as confidential
   business information and that this requirement could contravene Malaysia’s
   Competition Act of 2010.
   - Industry also indicates that Malaysia already has policies in place
   (Good Pharmaceutical Trade Practice, Component 2) to empower consumers and
   their physicians to make informed decisions based on factors such as
   affordability and a patient’s health.
   - We are concerned that this measure may not have been vetted with other
   Malaysian economic entities including the Trade Ministry, to assess the
   negative impact this measure could have on investment in Malaysia.
   - We would like to request the support of the Ministry of Trade in
   exploring this situation and providing our companies the opportunity to
   discuss this issue further.

Thiru Balasubramaniam
Geneva Representative
Knowledge Ecology International
41 22 791 6727
thiru at keionline.org

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