[Ip-health] English translation of April 27th letter from Colombian Embassy re: pressure from USTR, Sen. Finance Com.

Andrew S. Goldman andrew.goldman at keionline.org
Wed May 11 10:29:10 PDT 2016

Earlier today Jamie posted a letter from the Colombian Embassy to the
Colombian Minister of Foreign Relations regarding pressure on Colombia from
USTR and the Senate Finance Committee with regard to the possible
compulsory license for imatinib.  Below, please find the English
translation of that letter.

The timeline of what we have seen in yesterday's reports and this letter is
worth additional clarification.

April 26 2016: It is reported in El Espectador that the Colombian Minister
of Health publicly announced his intention to make the declaration that a
compulsory license on imatinib is in the public interest. [

April 27 2016: The letter KEI posted is sent from the Colombian embassy
suggesting that USTR and the Sen. Finance Committee had in recent weeks
contacted them regarding their disagreement with the compulsory license,
and links the compulsory license to the peace process. This letter does not
explicitly name Everett Eissenstat by name but does refer to staffers of
the Senate Finance Committee, and to a meeting that would take place with
those staffers on the next day regarding the compulsory license.

April 28 2016: A second letter, as reported by El Espectador, is sent from
the Colombian embassy to the Ministry of Health detailing the meeting with
the Senate Finance Committee staffer Everett Eissenstat. According to El
Espectador, the second letter again connects the compulsory license with
the peace process, this time explicitly referring to  Eissenstat by name.

We have yet to see this second letter but are hoping it will emerge soon.


The translation of the April 27th letter follows.

In Washington, DC, on April 27, 2016

Attn: María Ángela Holguín
Minister of External Affairs

From: Andrés Flórez
Deputy Chief of Mission
Embassy in Washington, DC


Dear Madam Minister,

These past few weeks, several pharmaceutical companies in the United States
and interest groups have communicated with the embassy and the Commercial
Office to express their concerns regarding regulatory issues which,
according to them, affect the interests of this industry in Colombia. Among
other issues, they are concerned by the possible declaration of public
interest concerning a compulsory licence for the drug known as GLIVEC and
produced by the pharmaceutical company NOVARTIS.

The possibility of an administrative act declaring a compulsory licence on
the drug GLIVEC has become a topic of interest for the USTR and the US
Congress. For instance, tomorrow, we will attend, with the Director of the
Commercial Office, a meeting held at the request of the members of the
Senate Finance Committee who worry about the compulsory licence process
mentioned above. Also, the USTR has requested a meeting with the Ambassador
Juan Carlos Pinzón in order to convey their major concern regarding this
issue as well as other related issues.

Given the direct link that exists between a significant group of members of
Congress and the pharmaceutical industry in the United States, the case of
GLIVEC is susceptible to escalate to the point that it could impair the
approval of the financing of the new initiative “Paz Colombia” as well as
become an issue in the framework of the free-trade treaty.

Moreover, the whole situation might have a negative impact on the
commercial interests of our country in the United States, which might even
weaken the support that this country could give us in case of a possible
future membership to the Trans-Pacific Partnership - TPP.

Given these facts, and following the instructions of the Ambassador Juan
Carlos Pinzón, we think that the National Government should assess the
measures considered and respond at its best interest to the concerns that
have been expressed. Likewise, we are of the opinion that it is necessary
to take a correction of our course in order to avoid claims against our

Best regards,

Andrés Flórez
[Deputy Chief of Mission]

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

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