[Ip-health] Pfizer's efforts to block Colombia's accession to the OECD in 2017-2018

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Thu Nov 29 08:00:33 PST 2018


https://www.keionline.org/29289

Pfizer’s efforts to block Colombia’s accession to the OECD in 2017-2018

Posted on November 29, 2018 <https://www.keionline.org/29289> by Thiru
<https://www.keionline.org/author/thiru>

The following PDF file includes several email exchanges between Pfizer and
USTR regarding Colombia’s accession to the Organisation for Economic
Co-operation and Development (OECD). Pfizer proposed several conditions it
wanted Colombia to agree to before the US would withdraw objections to
Colombia joining the OECD. Most of the Pfizer proposals are redacted by
USTR in these documents that KEI obtained through the Freedom of
Information Act (FOIA).

FOIA-USTR-Pfizer-Colombia-OECD
<https://www.keionline.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/FOIA-USTR-Pfizer-Colombia-OECD.pdf>

The following are a few excepts from the documents, but it will be more
interesting to read from the PDF
<https://www.keionline.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/FOIA-USTR-Pfizer-Colombia-OECD.pdf>,
which provides more details, and illustrates where redaction have been made.
------------------------------

*2017 March 23*

Carl Meacham (PhRMA) wrote to member companies of PhRMA with Jonathan
Kimball (PhRMA) in copy; Meacham informed his member companies that on
March 23, 2017, he met with Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Dawn
Shackleford, US representative to the OECD’s Trade Committee. PhRMA raised
concerns with USTR over Colombia’s accession to the OECD. At this meeting
USTR asked PhRMA if its member companies could provide “pertinent
information regarding the rationale for product denials and delays.”

*2017 April 12*

Mia Masten (Pfizer) wrote Leslie O’Connor (USTR) to provide information
regarding additional information on product denials and delays in Colombia.

According to Pfizer,

“Colombia’s market access policies and regulatory systems are a significant
departure from other regulatory bodies in OECD member countries which leads
to unpredictability and uncertainty for the biopharmaceutical industry.”

In Pfizer’s letter to USTR, Mia Masten (Pfizer) wrote:

“This letter is in response to your request for additional information on
the rationale Colombia used in denying company products listed in the BIAC
advocacy backgrounder that was submitted to the OECD Trade
Commission…Colombia’s market access policies and regulatory systems are a
significant departure from other regulatory bodies in OECD member countries
which leads to unpredictability and uncertainty for the biopharmaceutical
industry.”

Much of this letter is redacted.

This communication contains an email dated March 23, 2017 from Carl Meacham
(PhRMA) to member companies of PhRMA (see entry for March 23, 2017).

*2017 July 13*

Catherine Robinson (Pfizer) wrote Leslie O’Connor (USTR) asking in relation
to the Colombian trade minister:

“Hope all is well. Do you have time this afternoon to chat re: the meeting
with the trade minister yesterday? Would love to hear how it went.”

*2018 January 3*

Catherine Robinson (Pfizer) wrote John M. Melle (USTR) informing him that
Pfizer’s Regional Vice President for Latin America, Om Arora, would be in
Washington, DC on January 11, 2018. Catherine Robinson asked John M. Melle
about his availability to meet Om Arora on the morning of January 11, 2018
to discuss NAFTA, Mexico, Colombia and Argentina.

From: Robinson, Catherine
Sent: Wednesday, January 3, 2018 11:08 AM
To: ‘Melle, John M. EOP/USTR’

Subject: Request for Meeting Jan. 11th in the morning

Hi John

Happy New Year! Hope you had a nice holiday and got some well-deserved time
off!

Pfizer’s Regional Vice President for Latin America-Om Arora- will be in DC
on January 11th. Are you available to meet with him in the morning to
discuss NAFTA, Mexico, Colombia and Argentina?

*2018 January 5*

Catherine Robinson (Pfizer) wrote John Melle (USTR) following up on her
meeting request.

*2018 January 6*

On Saturday, January 6th, 2018, John Melle (USTR) responded to Catherine
Robinson (Pfizer), “Not able to do this meeting — perhaps next visit?”.

*2018 January 7*

Catherine Robinson (Pfizer) replied to John Melle (USTR).

Re: [EXTERNAL] RE: Request for Meeting Jan. 11th in the morning
From: “Robinson, Catherine” ©pfizer.com>
To: “Melle, John M. EOP/USTR”
Date: Sun, 07 Jan 2018 17:01:03 -0500

Thanks John.

Sent from my iPhone

*2018 March 5*

Catherine Robinson (Pfizer) wrote to Dawn Shackleford (USTR), Leslie
O’Connor (USTR), and Zoe Sophos (USTR) reaching out in advance of meetings
with the Government of Colombia. Catherine Robinson (Pfizer) expressed her
thanks to USTR for a letter sent by United States Trade Representative
Ambassador Robert Lighthizer to Maria Lorena Gutierrez, Colombia’s Trade
Minister, in relation to Colombia’s accession to the OECD.

Pfizer provided USTR its red lines on Colombia’s accession to the OECD;
Pfizer’s priorities included Article 72 of the National Development Plan
(including a Colombian proposal to introduce international reference
pricing), intellectual property, and biologics. The text on Pfizer’s
demands to USTR concerning Colombian legislation on Article 72,
intellectual property and biologics is redacted in its entirety.

Catherine Robinson (Pfizer) concluded her note to USTR by providing them
intel on an impending meeting between the Government of Malaysia with the
Colombia (during the week of March 5th, 2018) in Bogota. According to
Pfizer, the Government of Malaysia wanted to learn more from Colombia’s
experience of issuing a Declaration of Public Interest (DPI) as a precursor
to issuing a compulsory license. Pfizer made a point of noting that the
visit of Malaysian government officials to Bogota coincided with the
absence of Colombia’s Trade and Finance ministers (as they were in
Washington, DC).

“The Government of Malaysia is visiting with the Colombian Minister of
Health in Bogota this week (while the Trade and Finance ministers are in
DC) to discuss ways to adopt Colombia’s DPI policy in Malaysia!”

*2018 March 6*

Catherine Robinson (Pfizer) informed Dawn Shackleford (USTR), Leslie
O’Connor (USTR), Zoe Sophos (USTR), Cara Morrow (USTR) and Joe Whitlock
(USTR) that Colombia “finalized and published the regulation on Article 72
on March 6th, 2018.

In a follow up email Catherine Robinson (Pfizer) provided USTR with
specific language from amendments to Article 72.

“That the evaluation (carried out by IETS) be requirements for the
evaluation of the corresponding sanitary registration and/or its renewal.”

*2018 April 4*

Zoe Sophos (Deputy Director for WTO & Multilateral Affairs, USTR) wrote to
Catherine Robinson (Pfizer) introducing herself as the “lead on the OECD
Trade Committee of USTR” and indicated her interest in discussing
Colombia’s accession to the OECD. USTR proposed scheduling a call with
Pfizer regarding Colombia at 10 AM on April 5th, 2018.
------------------------------

From: Sophos, Zoe M. EOP/USTR [mailto:zoe_m_sophos©ustr.eop.gov]
Sent: Wednesday, April 4, 2018 11:41 AM
To: Robinson, Catherine
Subject: RE: [EXTERNAL] Time to chat re: OECD/CO?

Hi Catherine,

We may have met before, but my name is Zoe and I lead on the OECD Trade
Committee for USTR.Cara forwarded me your email below, and I wanted to let
you know I’d be happy to chat about Colombia if that’s still of
interest.I’m relatively open this week — please just let me know if there
are some times that might work for you.

Best,
Zoe
------------------------------

From: Robinson, Catherine @pfizer.com>
Sent: Wednesday, April 4, 2018 1:03 PM
To: Sophos, Zoe M. EOP/USTR
Subject: RE: [EXTERNAL] Time to chat re: OECD/CO?

Thanks Zoe. Appreciate you reaching out. We met a few times a year or so
ago. I was out on maternity leave for a while but have been engaged since
the beginning on Colombia.I’m generally open as well. Feel free to give me
a call on my cell

Thanks, cat
------------------------------

Re: [EXTERNAL] Time to chat re: OECD/CO?
From: “Robinson, Catherine” ©pfizer.com>
To: “Sophos, Zoe M. EOP/USTR”
Date: Wed, 04 Apr 2018 16:52:25 -0400

Thanks. Talk tomorrow.

Sent from my iPhone

On Apr 4, 2018, at 4:24 PM, Sophos, Zoe M. EOP/USTR wrote:

Sounds great, thanks Catherine. How about 10am tomorrow? Unless there’s a
time you prefer, I’ll plan to give you a call then.

Best,
Zoe
------------------------------

*2018 April 20*

Zoe Sophos (USTR) informed Catherine Robinson (Pfizer) that Colombia had
yet to achieve its outstanding commitments to the OECD’s Trade Committee;
USTR indicated that it would not be possible for the OECD’s Trade Committee
to conclude its review of Colombia’s accession to the OECD.

Catherine Robinson (Pfizer) responded: “Thank you! We agree.”

*2018 April 25*

Catherine Robinson (Director, International Government Affairs, Pfizer)
wrote Zoe Sophos (USTR) expressing concern that the Government of the
United States changed its position and would now support Colombia’s
accession to the OECD due to side letters on trucking and copyright. With
dismay, Pfizer noted that the accession would create a bad precedent for
pharmaceuticals and intellectual property.

[EXTERNAL] change in position
From: “Robinson, Catherine” ©pfizer.com>
To: “Sophos, Zoe M. EOP/USTR”
Date: Wed, 25 Apr 2018 10:18:36 -0400

Hi Zoe

I’m hearing that the USG has changed its position and will now support
Colombia due to side letters that create enforcement for the trucking and
copyright issues. What about the IP concerns for pharmaceuticals? If this
is true that is a really bad precedent. Appreciate any details you can
share.

Much appreciated.

Thanks, Cat

Catherine Robinson
Director, International Government Affairs
Pfizer Inc


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


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