[Ip-health] Reuters: Deal still possible in Colombia-Novartis cancer drug talks : minister

Michael H Davis m.davis at csuohio.edu
Wed May 18 09:41:33 PDT 2016

I think we all know that when a party flatly rejects negotiations, they are negotiating! Don't you think?

Sent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE Device

-------- Original message --------
From: "Andrew S. Goldman" <andrew.goldman at keionline.org>
Date: 18/05/2016 12:39 (GMT-05:00)
To: Ip-health at lists.keionline.org
Subject: [Ip-health] Reuters: Deal still possible in Colombia-Novartis cancer drug talks : minister

As with the AP Story, this Reuters story reports that the Colombian
Ministry of Health is leaving the door open to negotiation on imatinib in
spite of the fact that Novartis flatly rejected negotiation on April 20th (



The door remains open for Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis to reach a
deal with Colombia to lower the cost of cancer drug imatinib and prevent
the Andean country from allowing generic production of the medication, the
health minister said.

Colombia asked Novartis (NOVN.S) to lower the price of imatinib, which is
used to treat leukemia and other cancers, in an effort to save costs for
the country's beleaguered healthcare system but negotiations broke down and
prompted the country to announce it may declare a compulsory license.

Compulsory licenses permit companies to make cheaper generic versions of
medications considered vital to public health, overriding drugs patents.

"We have not shut the door to negotiations, we're keeping it open, but not
for much longer," Health Minister Alejandro Gaviria told Reuters in an
interview late on Tuesday.

Government sources said the ministry's deadline for reaching a deal is the
end of May.

The drug, sold under brand names Glivec or Gleevec, was not under patent in
Colombia between 2003 and 2012, sparking competition from generic producers
whose prices are 197 percent cheaper than Novartis, according to the health
ministry. The current patent is valid until mid-2018.

The declaration would mark the first time Colombia has used compulsory
licensing. Thailand, India and Brazil have come under fire from
pharmaceutical companies and the U.S. government for violating patents.

"Compulsory licenses are part of the rules of the game for all countries,
they are exceptions to free trade agreements," Gaviria said.

Each 400 milligram tablet of imatinib currently costs 129,000 Colombian
pesos, around $43. The government had proposed to Novartis that the price
be lowered to $18.50, but says the company did not take the offer. Imatinib
is used by some 2,500 patients in Colombia.

"They have been very reticent," Gaviria said. "They say they do not want to
negotiate under the threat of compulsory licensing."

Novartis, which would be allowed to charge Colombia compensation should a
license be issued, told Reuters this week it is actively seeking a

The possibility of compulsory licensing has sparked worries among Colombian
diplomats in Washington that approval could endanger $450 million in
proposed funding for the so-called Peace Colombia aid package if an end to
the nation's 52-year-old conflict with Marxist rebels is reached.

An official from the U.S. Senate Finance Committee told diplomats the
pharmaceutical industry fears it could set a precedent and may impact other
Colombian interests in Congress, according to leaked diplomatic letters.

(Reporting by Julia Symmes Cobb and Luis Jaime Acosta; Additional reporting
by Michael Shields in Vienna and John Miller in Zurich; Editing by Alistair
Andrew S. Goldman
Counsel, Policy and Legal Affairs
Knowledge Ecology International
andrew.goldman at keionline.org // www.twitter.com/ASG_KEI<http://www.twitter.com/ASG_KEI>
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