Novartis has threatened Colombia with international investment arbitration to avoid the issuance of a compulsory license.* The Swiss pharma giant is also turning to Colombian courts in an attempt to kill the price reduction imposed by the authorities over its cancer blockbuster Glivec. Both of these moves are confirmed by confidential documents obtained by Public Eye.
Leaked letters (PDF, 3.2 MB) to the Ministry of Trade and Industry show how Novartis threatened to resort to international investment arbitration for an alleged violation of the Swiss-Colombian bilateral investment treaty (BIT), which was signed by both countries in 2006. This undemocratic procedural mechanism, better known as Investor-State dispute settlement (ISDS), forms part of many trade agreements and allows an investor from one country to bring a case directly against the country in which they have invested before a private international arbitration tribunal, without going through local courts first. This threat has undoubtedly influenced the decision of the Colombian health authorities to stop short of pursuing a compulsory license, focusing only on a price reduction.
A health advocacy group voiced its opposition Tuesday to a patent application for hepatitis C medicine, Sofosbuvir, filed with the Department of Intellectual Property’s Patent Office, which the group said was unjustified.
If approved, the drug patent would bar fair competition by precluding the development and distribution of generic versions of Sofosbuvir at lower prices, said a group of 30 activists led by the Aids Access Foundation and Thai Network of People Living with HIV/Aids. Continue reading
In an unprecedented case, Eli Lilly initiated an amended investor-state-dispute-settlement (ISDS) claim against the government of Canada in 2013 after Canada’s highest courts upheld invalidations on new therapeutic use patents for two chemical compounds – olanzapine and atomoxetine, the active pharmaceutical ingredients of Strattera and Zyprexa respectively. The courts had ruled that Canada’s well established “promise utility doctrine” was not satisfied because the evidence provided by Eli Lilly at the time of its patent applications did not support the new therapeutic uses claimed. Eli Lilly filed its ISDS claim under the investment clause of the North American Free Trade Act (NAFTA) and sought CA$ 500 million in compensatory damages for past and future lost profits. Continue reading
Source: PTI Published: The Economic Times | March 27, 2017
NEW DELHI: Pitching for liberalisation of trade in services, India today said it is offering “far deeper” proposals in the proposed mega deal RCEP than most of the other member nations of the grouping.
The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a mega trade agreement being negotiated among 16 countries including ASEAN, India, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. Continue reading
Source: NZHerald | March 29, 2017
The visit of China’s Premier Le Keqiang to New Zealand should be the catalyst for a mature and nuanced discussion of our future relationship with the world’s rising hegemon, not simply, whether we can renegotiate the China New Zealand free trade agreement to gain more dairy market access, and will we give China more investment rights and protections in return.
An important backdrop for this reflection is the crisis meeting Chile convened last week to plan the rescue of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement and the broader, troubled free-trade and investment model. Continue reading
By Jyotsna Singh, Scroll | March 23, 2017
Developed countries continue to put pressure on India to move to stricter intellectual property regimes that would favour multinational pharmaceutical countries over generic drug manufacturers. A new leaked document shows that the Swiss government is pushing for more patent protections and data exclusivity in negotiations for the Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement or TEPA between India and the European Free Trade Association being held in New Delhi. Continue reading