[Ip-health] Pharmalot: Colombia to Novartis: Lower the price of your cancer drug, or else

Zack Struver zack.struver at keionline.org
Wed May 18 09:54:23 PDT 2016


I forgot to include the link. Here it is:
https://www.statnews.com/pharmalot/2016/05/18/novartis-cancer-drug-prices-patents/

On Wed, May 18, 2016 at 12:36 PM, Zack Struver <zack.struver at keionline.org>
wrote:

> <SNIP>“The Colombian health minister is raising the right question,” said
> Jamie Love of Knowledge Ecology International, a nonprofit group that
> tracks intellectual property and access to medicines issues. “What can
> governments do when prices are too high?
>
> “Rather than put the patients at risk, with restrictive conditions on
> reimbursements and access, Colombia has put the monopoly at risk,” he
> continued. “This is why Novartis, Senator Hatch and PhRMA (the
> pharmaceutical industry trade group) are so concerned. The Colombian
> precedent should be followed not only in Latin America, but also in the
> US.”</SNIP>
>
> Colombia to Novartis: Lower the price of your cancer drug, or else
>
> By ED SILVERMAN @Pharmalot
> MAY 18, 2016
>
> The Colombian government and Novartis appear to be headed toward a
> showdown over the widely used Gleevec cancer treatment. In the latest
> twist, Health Minister Alejandro Gaviria is giving the drug maker a few
> more weeks to reduce its price for the medicine, or he will issue a
> so-called “compulsory license” that will allow generic companies to sell
> lower-cost versions.
>
> “For us, it’s a question of survival,” he told the Associated Press.
>
> The ultimatum comes amid heightened tension over the government’s plan to
> widen access to the medicine. After Gaviria last month indicated he would
> issue a license to serve the public good, the Colombian Embassy in
> Washington DC sent him a letter suggesting that US government support for a
> peace initiative and a free-trade treaty may be jeopardized.
>
> A similar letter was sent to another Colombian government minister. The
> Obama administration recently pledged $450 million for assistance in
> cementing a peace deal with Marxist rebels and also signaled a willingness
> to allow Colombia to join the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade
> zone. Colombia and the United States already have their own trade agreement.
>
> The warnings were prompted after embassy officials met with staff from the
> Senate Finance Committee and the US Trade Representative’s office. The
> Senate committee is headed by Orrin Hatch, a Republican from Utah who has
> close ties to the pharmaceutical industry. And the US Trade Rep recently
> maintained Colombia’s status on its annual list of countries that fail to
> sufficiently enforce patent rights.
>
> Over the past four years, Colombia has tried to negotiate a lower price
> but without success. The drug maker rejected a proposal to cut the price to
> less than half of the currently regulated price, which the Associated Press
> noted would still be above what generics cost before they were banned. In
> 2012, a Colombian court awarded Novartis an exclusive patent on one of two
> forms of the drug.
>
> For its part, Novartis has consistently maintained that it is “actively
> seeking a resolution” to the dispute, while arguing that compulsory license
> should not be used to force price negotiations. The company has also
> insisted that the price for Gleevec in Colombia is subject to government
> controls and that generics are available in the country.
>
> The episode has quickly become another heated example of the clash over
> intellectual property rights and access to medicines between the
> pharmaceutical industry and cash-strapped governments. Global drug makers
> argue that compulsory licenses should be reserved for public health
> emergencies and as a measure of last resort, not a tool to use in
> negotiations for a lower price.
>
> But patient advocacy groups counter that a health emergency is “not
> necessarily” required to issue a license, according to the World Trade
> Organization. The right to issue compulsory licenses, which allow a generic
> company to make a brand-name medicine without the consent of the company
> holding a patent, was memorialized in a WTO agreement.
>
> Colombia’s health care system guarantees patient access to all approved
> drugs, and the budget is straining after years of price hikes from drug
> manufacturers, the Associated Press explained. In 2009, the government
> declared a public health emergency after spending rose tenfold in a few
> years. Colombia would save approximately $12 million annually by issuing a
> license for generic Gleevec production.
>
> To Gaviria, the lobbying pressure reflects anxiety among global drug
> makers. “They’re very afraid that Colombia could become an example that
> spreads across the region,” he told the news service.
>
> One consumer advocate, who supports the Colombian health ministry in its
> quest to obtain a lower price or a license, agreed with his assessment.
>
> “The Colombian health minister is raising the right question,” said Jamie
> Love of Knowledge Ecology International, a nonprofit group that tracks
> intellectual property and access to medicines issues. “What can governments
> do when prices are too high?
>
> “Rather than put the patients at risk, with restrictive conditions on
> reimbursements and access, Colombia has put the monopoly at risk,” he
> continued. “This is why Novartis, Senator Hatch and PhRMA (the
> pharmaceutical industry trade group) are so concerned. The Colombian
> precedent should be followed not only in Latin America, but also in the US.”
> ​​
>
> --
> Zack Struver, Communications and Research Associate
> Knowledge Ecology International
> zack.struver at keionline.org
> Twitter: @zstruver <https://twitter.com/zstruver>
> Office: +1 (202) 332-2670 Cell: +1 (914) 582-1428
> keionline.org
>



-- 
Zack Struver, Communications and Research Associate
Knowledge Ecology International
zack.struver at keionline.org
Twitter: @zstruver <https://twitter.com/zstruver>
Office: +1 (202) 332-2670 Cell: +1 (914) 582-1428
keionline.org



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