Medicines Excitement in the Netherlands – New Health Minister announces firm action on “absurd” medicines pricing and gets the European Medicines Agency.

The new Minister of Health of the Netherlands, Bruno Bruins, came in guns blazing when he put the pharmaceutical industry on notice and announced on 22 November to “change the rules of the game” to tackle, what he called “absurd” medicines pricing.

He specifically told the Dutch parliament that he plans to “extensively explore” the use of compulsory licensing of patents of medicines that are too expensive. (See here for media coverage in Dutch). Compulsory licensing lifts the monopoly effect of a patent by allowing others to produce generic versions. The Dutch patent law provides for compulsory licensing, including for reasons of public interest, which presumably covers addressing “absurd pricing” of needed medicines.  EU medicines regulations may stand in the way of the Minister’s plans when data exclusivity rules prevent the registration of the generic. For a detailed discussion of the need to ensure coherence in EU law on this matter see our paper here. He will also explore if he can authorise pharmacists to prepare medicines al lower cost for individual patients. Continue reading

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Doctors Without Borders contests Pfizer’s patent on pneumonia vaccine

Pfizer has come under fire for holding exclusive patent rights that bars competition on its pneumonia vaccine worldwide, which is being challenged in patent litigations in several countries, an aid group said Monday.

Doctors Without Borders will challenge Pfizer in the High Court of Delhi in India Tuesday to overturn a patent court ruling that granted the pharmaceutical giant a “monopolistic” control over a pneumonia vaccine, Prevnar 13, it said. Continue reading

Posted in Patent, Patent examination system, Patent Opposition, Uncategorized, Vaccines | Leave a comment

Rethinking IP in the TPP: Canadian Government Plays Key Role in Suspending Unbalanced Patent and Copyright Rules


Years of disappointment in trade negotiations have left many Canadian intellectual property watchers hoping for the best, but expecting the worst when it comes to the IP provisions in trade deals. In earlier talks, Canadian negotiators would often advocate balanced positions during the negotiations, but ultimately cave to (primarily) U.S. pressures during the final round of talks. Given that history, this week’s outcome of the TPP11 is reason for celebration as the second largest economy in the TPP finally acted like it. The Liberal government demonstrated genuine leadership in demanding significant changes to the flawed TPP intellectual property chapter and refusing to back down under intense pressure from some of the negotiating parties. The result isn’t perfect, but the newly named Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which still requires considerable negotiation, features a significantly improved IP chapter that suspends some of the most problematic provisions. Continue reading

Posted in Biologics/Biosimilars, Data Exclusivity, Patent Term Extension, TPP, TRIPS, TRIPS plus, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is back: experts respond

Source: The Conversation

The latest incarnation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is said to have “fewer bad bits”. But as our experts point out below, there’s still a great deal wrong with, or missing from, the regional free trade agreement.

The new TPP is informally known as the TPP11, after the United States pulled out of the original 12-country bloc earlier this year. Continue reading

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The opioid crisis has triggered immense tragedy, touching almost every community in America and creating complex healthcare problems, including a rise in chronic infections transmitted through injection drug use.

New hepatitis C infections are at a 15-year high, impacting some of our most vulnerable communities and flaring up in areas with high rates of opioid addiction— like rural West Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee—while still remaining prevalent in urban areas. Continue reading

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Time for costly medicine monopolies to go from TPP trade talks

Source: |November 9, 2017

Negotiators from 11 countries have been racing to resurrect the near-dead Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement before the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit this weekend.

The latest plan to get the controversial trade deal up and running again after the withdrawal of the United States involves freezing some of its controversial rules. These include rules for biologic drugs, an expensive class of medicines often used to treat conditions such as cancer and rheumatoid arthritis. Continue reading

Posted in Biologics/Biosimilars, Data Exclusivity, Patent, TPP, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Patient groups march for access to medicines in South Africa

Source: MSF Access
Finalise the draft policy and amend laws to save lives, activists tell dti
PRETORIA – Today, more than 1,000 members of the Fix the Patent Laws Coalition (FTPL) will march to the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) in support of the government’s efforts to fix our patent laws and ensure everyone has access to the medicines they need.
Made up of 36 patient groups and civil society organisations representing people affected by most major diseases in South Africa, the FTPL Coalition will hand over its in-depth submission in support of the draft Intellectual Property Policy, and a new report documenting the dire inaccessibility of many cancer medicines due to patent barriers. The draft policy was released by the dti in August 2017.

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