May 262016

capitol building - USG photo[House Ways and Means Committee Democrats, Link] A group of 15 House Democrats today sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman urging the Administration to clarify its position on compulsory licensing for generic medicines in Colombia.

The letter was led by Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI), and also signed by Reps. Jim McGovern (D-MA), Jim McDermott (D-WA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Peter Welch (D-VT), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), John Lewis (D-GA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), David E. Price (D-NC), Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), and Sam Farr (D-CA). Continue reading »

May 172016

colombia flag - better cropping[Joint Letter Signed by 122 Experts – PDF in English and Spanish, with Signatures] Dear President Santos:  We are lawyers, academics and other experts specializing in fields including intellectual property, trade and health, writing to affirm that international law and policy support Colombia´s right to issue compulsory licenses on patents in order to promote public interests including access to affordable medicines. Continue reading »

May 032016

colombia flag - better croppingPresented by the Colombian civil society organizations: Ifarma Foundation, Misión Salud and CIMUN

Dear Mr. Bhanu Pratap Sharma, Chairman.

We would like to transmit to you and all assistants our best wishes for the success of this session, where governments, intergovernmental bodies and non-state actors are trying to get one step closer on mechanisms that will address the well known inefficiencies of the R&D model based on monopoly prices, inefficiencies that have caused innumerable harmful effects on people’s health and well-being.

But we need to put under your consideration, and the consideration of delegates and assistants, a special situation we are currently facing that reflects both the urgency and the interests that are preventing nations from reaching a global solution promptly. Continue reading »

Jan 122016
Photo by C.E. Kent (CC-BY)

C.E. Kent (CC-BY)

Jahan ‘Harry’ Taubman-Rezakhanlou for Intellectual Property Watch
Link (CC-BY-NC-SA)

More than 50 members of the United States Congress today sent a letter urging the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) to exercise their legal authority to require medical patents that have emerged from government-funded medical research projects to be licensed on reasonable and affordable terms for public use. Continue reading »

Oct 292015

baten-bianchi-moserAuthors: Joerg Baten, Nicola Bianchi, and Petra Moser

Abstract: This paper investigates whether compulsory licensing – which allows governments to license patents without the consent of patent-owners – discourages invention. Our analysis exploits new historical data on German patents to examine the effects of compulsory licensing under the US Trading-with-the-Enemy Act on invention in Germany. We find that compulsory licensing was associated with a 28 percent increase in invention. Historical evidence indicates that, as a result of war-related demands, fields with licensing were negatively selected, so OLS estimates may underestimate the positive effects of compulsory licensing on future inventions. Continue reading »

May 132015

Sen. SandersDear Secretary McDonald:

I am writing to urge you to use your authority as Secretary of Veterans Affairs to break the patents on Hepatitis C medications for the treatment of veterans suffering with the disease.

Last December, as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, I held a hearing about the high price of Hepatitis C drugs and the impact of those high prices on access to treatment for veterans. At the time, I raised concerns that the price of these new Hepatitis C drugs, specifically Sovaldi, which is manufactured by Gilead Sciences, even when discounted, would preclude veterans from accessing these life-changing drugs. Continue reading »

Feb 262015

hcv report cover[Yale Global Health Partnership press release] Just last week, worldwide leaders came together in Geneva, Switzerland at the World Health Organization to begin to develop a five-year strategy to combat Hepatitis C. The disease, which affects 185 million people worldwide – five times as many people as HIV, predominantly in low-and middle-income countries – has been called a silent epidemic. Now, a new report by Yale’s Global Health Partnership (GHJP), the Treatment Action Group (TAG) and the Initiative for Medicines, Access and Knowledge (I-MAK) warns that global efforts to extend treatment to millions is in peril unless key obstacles to access are confronted immediately…  strategies used with other diseases, particularly HIV/AIDS, to extend treatments to millions who need it has largely depended on getting less expensive, generic versions of these drugs on the market, by pressuring companies to allow other manufacturers to produce their drugs.

Yale GHJP Press Release | Full Report

Jan 052015

ITC[Updated Jan 5]  The U.S. International Trade Commission has released its report on Indian trade, investment and industrial policies, including but not limited to intellectual property rights.  The full report is here and the the press release is here.

The report was based on “a survey of U.S. companies doing business in India; a quantitative analysis of the effects on the U.S. economy; and qualitative research, including a hearing and fieldwork, to produce case studies and examples that help illustrate effects of the policies on particular companies or industries.”  Continue reading »

Dec 152014

lawyerscollective2[Lawyers Collective press release, Link]  In a momentous decision that would have wide-ranging implication for access to medicines, the Supreme Court of India refused to entertain Bayer’s appeal to set aside the compulsory license (CL) on Sorafenib (Nexavar). The Supreme Court’s dismissal of Bayer’s Special Leave Petition against the Bombay High Court’s decision upholding of the CL concludes the legal proceedings on the first ever CL issued in India. Continue reading »

Sep 052014

ecuador flagIssues New Compulsory Licenses; Signs Harmful Trade Agreement with the EU

[Luz Marina Umbasia and Peter Maybarduk, Link to PDF]  In July, Ecuador issued four compulsory licenses for medicines targeting cancer and arthritis treatment and immunological reception to kidney transplant.[1] These licenses authorize cost-cutting generic competition with patented medicines, in exchange for royalty payments to the patent holders. Compulsory licensing is a crucial tool to expand access to medicines that are prohibitively expensive or whose costs place enormous burdens on budgets for health systems.[2] Ecuador has again demonstrated international leadership by exercising its health rights. Continue reading »

Jul 212014

tac-logo[Lotti Rutter, Treatment Action Campaign, Link (CC-BY)]  In 2011, the UN and member states set a goal of reaching 15 million people on AIDS treatment by 2015—a goal many questioned but that will be met next year. Since then, evidence and tools available have changed and it is clear that simply tracking testing and treatment is not good enough.  Critically, it is now clear that suppressing the HIV virus with high-quality HIV drugs keeps people living with HIV alive and healthy while also preventing HIV transmission. Continue reading »

Apr 172014

peru flagPharmaceutical companies’ abuse of monopolistic position results in million-dollar overspending in public purchases.

[Javier Llamoza and Ana Romero] Atazanavir is an antiretroviral, second-line medicine that is used to treat people living with HIV.   In Peru, this drug is patented by Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS), ensuring exclusivity and a high price for the same in the national market.  A related result of this situation is that Peru’s public health sector overspends approximately US$ 7.5 million annually, as the present patent on Atazanavir does not allow for the purchase of the generic product.   In contrast, the generic version of this medicine is available in Bolivia, for example, and costs that country US$ 0.50 per 300mg tablet, while in  Peru, an average of  US$ 12.85 is paid for the original brand name (Reyataz tab 300mg ),  24 times more for the same product. Continue reading »