[Ip-health] Law 360: Israel Defies AbbVie IP To Import Generic Drugs For COVID-19

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Fri Mar 20 01:29:48 PDT 2020


Israel Defies AbbVie IP To Import Generic Drugs For COVID-19

By Dani Kass

Law360 (March 19, 2020, 3:52 PM EDT) -- Israel is allowing generic versions
of AbbVie Inc.’s HIV drug Kaletra to be imported to treat coronavirus
patients, even though the drug is still patent protected in the country,
according to Thursday media reports.

The country's attorney general is, for the first time, invoking a 1967
patent law that allows a generic version of a drug to be approved even if
the branded version is still patent protected, according to reporting in
Bloomberg Law. The generic drugs will not be given to HIV patients, said a
Reuters report.

The Israel Ministry of Health has said the viral drug could be a possible
treatment for patients with COVID-19 and granted a preliminary permit,
according to media reports. But a recent study published in the New England
Journal of Medicine testing the use of Kaletra in China cast doubt on the
treatment, finding it ineffective.

The Justice Ministry said AbbVie and an importer aren’t able to provide
“the necessary inventory” of the branded drug, so they need to turn to
alternatives, according to Reuters. The Israeli patents are good until
2024, but they’ve expired in India and elsewhere, the news organization

Representatives for AbbVie and Israel’s Justice Ministry didn’t immediately
respond to requests for comment Thursday.

The health ministry said Thursday that 573 Israelis have tested positive
for COVID-19, according to news reports.

AbbVie brought in $245 million in worldwide Kaletra sales last year,
according to the company's U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

--Editing by Gemma Horowitz.

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

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