[Ip-health] El Espectador: Las presiones de EE.UU. para que Colombia no regule el precio del imatinib

Edward Hammond eh at pricklyresearch.com
Tue May 10 14:32:53 PDT 2016


For clarity's sake, the short letter was written by a Colombian Embassy 
official in Washington to the Colombian health minister, summarizing the 
Embassy's discussions with Eissenstat in which he reportedly linked Paz 
Colombia funding to the imatinib licensing issue.

My translation of the quotes from the letter is probably imperfect, but 
somewhat better than google:

"Eissenstat mentioned that although Novartis is not an American company, 
the US pharmaceutical industry was very worried about the possibility 
that the case would become a precedent that could be applied to any 
patent in any industry which, according to him, could lead to the 
reputation of our country's respect for intellectual property rights 
being viewed as impaired and Colombia becoming one among those countries 
that would have special treatment."

"Einssenstat also mentioned that, if the Ministry of Health does not 
correct this situation, the US pharmaceutical industry and related 
interest groups could become very vocal (SIC) and interfere with other 
interests that Colombia could have in the US."

(The "sic" appears because use of the Spanish word "vocal" here appears 
to be borrowing from the English sense of the word, and not a typical 
Spanish usage, i.e. "ser vocal" in Spanish does not typically translate 
as "be vocal" in the English sense, i.e. the guy writing the letter was 
thinking in English. :-) )

"Mr. Einssenstat considers that sufficient reasons to legally justify a 
compulsory license for Glivec do not exist. So, in his opinion, in case 
this happens, Colombia would be violating the intellectual property of 
the company Nocartis, as well as the Colombia - US free trade agreement, 
among other treaties."


Edward Hammond


(Disused MA in Latin American Studies, 1995, but with Colombian spouse.)






On 10/05/2016 15:32, Andrew S. Goldman wrote:
> To follow on Jamie's post of this morning, here is a second story regarding
> pressure on Colombia coming from Everett Eissenstat of the Senate Finance
> Committee, chaired by Sen. Hatch.
>
> Again, there is reference to how the compulsory license on imatinib could
> prevent receipt of financial resources for the Colombian peace process.
>
> The article from this morning suggested that the letter in question came
> via the U.S. embassy; this article suggests that the letter actually came
> from the Colombian embassy in the U.S., recounting the position of
> Eissenstat. The letter still has not been made public, though this article
> does contain direct quotes.
>
> Apologies for any confusion.
> --
> http://www.elespectador.com/noticias/salud/presiones-de-eeuu-colombia-no-regule-el-precio-del-imat-articulo-631535
>
> El jueves 28 de abril aterrizó en los escritorios del Ministerio de Salud
> una carta proveniente de la embajada de Colombia en Estados Unidos. Era un
> misiva de un poco más de una página donde le advertían a Alejandro Gaviria,
> jefe de esa cartera, que su intención de someter el imatinib a una licencia
> obligatoria, estaba causando más de una molestia en ese país. La idea, se
> lee, de que ese medicamento, clave para tratar la leucemia mieloide crónica
> (LMC) y otros siete tipos de cáncer más, se consiguiera a un precio mucho
> menor que el actual, le incomodaba al Comité de Finanzas del Senado de
> EE.UU. Y eso le preocupaba a los funcionarios colombianos, pese a que el
> país hubiese pagado por ese fármaco casi $400 mil millones en los últimos
> seis años. (Vea Las otras trabas que tendrán los pacientes con leucemia
> para acceder a medicamentos más baratos)
>
> En cinco párrafos le dejaban claro a Gaviria que luego de reunirse con
> Everert Eissenstat, staffer de ese Comité, la Embajada quedó intranquila
> porque para ellos regular el precio de ese fármaco, comercializado por la
> multinacional suiza Novartis, puede desembocar en disputas relacionadas con
> lo pactado en el TLC o puede crear inconvenientes en la aprobación de los
> recursos para la iniciativa “Paz Colombia”. (Vea también Las presiones
> económicas de Suiza para que Colombia no regule el imaitnib)
>
> En otros términos, el paso histórico que está a punto de dar el
> Minsaludpara sacar adelante la primera declaratoria de interés público en
> el país y que beneficiaría a más de tres mil pacientes con LMC, toca
> profundos intereses comerciales que explican las presiones diplomáticas de
> Estados Unidos. La carta deja claro por qué: “Einssenstat mencionó que, a
> pesar de que Novartis no es una empresa americana, la industria
> farmacéutica de EE.UU. está muy preocupada por la posibilidad de que este
> caso se vuelva un precedente que podría aplicarse a cualquier patente en
> cualquier industria, lo que según él, podría llevar a que la reputación de
> nuestro país en materia de respeto a los derechos de propiedad intelectual
> se vea menoscabada y Colombia entre a ser parte de los países que tendrían
> un tratamiento especial”. (Lea La historia del medicamento de los $400 mil
> millones)
>
> Las advertencias continúan más adelante: “Einssenstat también mencionó que,
> si el Ministerio de Salud no corrige esta situación, la industria
> farmacéutica en EE.UU. y los grupos de interés relacionados podrían llegar
> a ser muy vocales (SIC) e interferir con otros intereses que pudiera tener
> Colombia en EE.UU.”
>
> En pocas palabras, el vocero del Comité de Finanzas del Senado
> estadounidense cree que no hay suficientes razones para que Novartis deje
> de tener la exclusividad para comercializar el imatinib. No lo cree pese a
> que la multinacional está vendiendo ese medicamento (comercializado bajo el
> nombre de Glivec) a un precio muy superior del que ofrecerían los
> laboratorios colombianos. Antes de la multinacional se quedara con la
> patente, la diferencia entre sus precios y el de la industria nacional era
> de 198%. Mientras que la compañía suiza vendía cada miligramo de imatinib a
> $324, los colombianos lo ofrecían a un precio de $78,5.
>
> “El Sr. Einssenstat considera que no hay razones suficientes que
> justifiquen la legalidad de una licencia compulsoria para Glivec. Por eso,
> en su opinión, en el caso de que esto suceda, Colombia estaría violando los
> derechos de propiedad intelectual de la empresa Novartis, así como el
> tratado de libre comercio Colombia – EE.UU, entre otros tratados”, se lee
> en la carta enviada por la embajada de Colombia en Estados Unidos a Gaviria
> y conocida por El Espectador.
>
> Sin embargo, ya en varias ocasiones, organizaciones de la sociedad civil
> como Misión Salud, la Fundación Ifarma y el Centro de Información de
> Medicamentos de la Universidad Nacional (Cimun), quienes solicitaron en
> 2014 al Minsalud declarar el imatinib como de interés público, han
> desvirtuado los argumentos en los que se fundamentan estas amenazas. Hace
> unos días, de hecho, el Observatorio de la Federación Médica Colombiana, a
> través de un comunicado, dejó claro que Colombia tiene completa libertad
> para conceder una licencia obligatoria.
>
> "El Acuerdo sobre los ADPIC (Acuerdo sobre los Aspectos de los Derechos de
> Propiedad Intelectual) no enumera específicamente las razones que podrían
> invocarse para justificar las licencias obligatorias. Sin embargo, la
> Declaración Ministerial de Doha sobre los ADPIC y la Salud Pública confirma
> que los países tienen libertad para determinar los motivos para la
> concesión de licencias obligatorias", aseguran.
>
> Pero esta no es la primera carta de advertencia que llega a las manos de
> Gaviria desde la embajada Colombia en EE.UU. Hace dos años, cuando estaba
> en trámite el decreto sobre los medicamentos biotecnológicos, el embajador
> Carlos Villegas le hizo saber las preocupaciones de la industria
> farmacéutica en ese país y le sugería llevar a cabo más análisis. Hoy
> Villegas es el ministro de Defensa. Entró a reemplazar a Juan Carlos
> Pinzón, quien ahora es el embajador colombiano en Estados Unidos. (Lea Las
> presiones de EE.UU. por los medicamentos biotecnológicos)
>
> --
> Quick English translation via google:
>
> On Thursday April 28 landed on the desks of MoH letter from the Embassy of
> Colombia in the United States. It was a letter from a little more than a
> page where he warned Alejandro Gaviria, head of the ministry, its intention
> to submit the imatinib to a compulsory license, it was causing more of a
> nuisance in that country. The idea is read, that the drug, key to treating
> chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and seven other main types of cancer, got a
> much lower price than the current one , was uncomfortable to the Finance
> Committee of the US Senate .S. And that worried Colombian officials,
> although the country had paid for the drug almost $ 400 billion in the last
> six years. ( See other obstacles that have leukemia patients to access
> cheaper medicines )
>
>
> In five paragraphs he made clear to Gaviria after meeting with Everert
> Eissenstat, staffer of the Committee, the Embassy was uneasy because for
> them regulate the price of that drug, marketed by the Swiss multinational
> Novartis, can lead to disputes relating to the agreement in NAFTA or you
> create problems in approving resources for "Peace Colombia" initiative. (
> See also Economic pressures from Switzerland to Colombia does not regulate
> the imaitnib )
>
> In other words, the historic step that is about to give the MoH to take
> forward the first declaration of public interest in the country and would
> benefit more than three thousand patients with CML, touches deep commercial
> interests that explain the diplomatic pressure from the United United. The
> letter makes it clear why: "Einssenstat mentioned that although Novartis is
> not an American company, the US pharmaceutical industry It is very
> concerned about the possibility that this case set a precedent that could
> apply to any patent in any industry becomes, what he believes , could lead
> to the reputation of our country's respect for intellectual property rights
> look undermined and become Colombia among the countries that have a special
> treatment. " (Read the history of medicine of the $ 400 billion)
>
> The warnings continue later: "Einssenstat also mentioned that if the
> Ministry of Health does not correct this situation, the pharmaceutical
> industry in the US and interest groups could become very vocal (SIC) and
> interfere with other interests that could have Colombia in the US "
>
> In short, the spokesman of the Finance Committee of the US Senate believes
> that there is sufficient reason for Novartis longer has the exclusive right
> to market the imatinib. Despite not believe that the multinational is
> selling the drug (marketed under the name Glivec) at a much higher price
> than would offer Colombian laboratories. Before the multinational he stayed
> with the patent, the difference between their prices and the domestic
> industry was 198%. While the Swiss company sold each milligram of imatinib
> to $ 324, the Colombians offered at a price of $ 78.5.
>
> "Mr. Einssenstat considers that there are insufficient reasons to justify
> the legality of a compulsory license to Glivec. So in your opinion, if this
> happens, Colombia would it violate the intellectual property rights of
> Novartis, as well as the free trade agreement Colombia - US, among other
> treaties, "reads the letter sent by the embassy of Colombia in the United
> States Gaviria and known for El Espectador.
>
> However, since on several occasions, civil society and Mission Health,
> IFARMA Foundation and the Center for Drug Information National University
> (Cimun), who requested in 2014 to Minsalud declare imatinib as public
> interest, have disproved the arguments that these threats are based. a few
> days, in fact, the Observatory of the Colombian Medical Federation ago,
> through a statement, made clear that Colombia has complete freedom to grant
> a compulsory license.
>
> "The TRIPS Agreement (Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual
> Property Rights) does not specifically list the reasons that might be
> invoked to justify compulsory licensing. However, the Doha Ministerial
> Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health confirms that countries are free to
> determine the grounds for compulsory licensing, "they say.
>
> But this is not the first warning letter that reaches the hands of Gaviria
> from the US embassy in Colombia Two years ago, when the decree was pending
> on biotech drugs, Ambassador Carlos Villegas let him know the concerns of
> the pharmaceutical industry in that country and suggested to carry out
> further analysis. Villegas is now defense minister. He came to replace Juan
> Carlos Pinzon, who is now the Colombian ambassador to the United States.
> (Read pressures US for biotech drugs)
>
>
> --
> Andrew S. Goldman
> Counsel, Policy and Legal Affairs
> Knowledge Ecology International
> andrew.goldman at keionline.org // www.twitter.com/ASG_KEI
> tel.: +1.202.332.2670
> www.keionline.org
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