IHP news 512: Access to medicines

By on March 8, 2019

IP Watch – Will US Drug Pricing Politics Change Intimidation Practices Globally?

Fifa Rahman (board member NGOs at Unitaid) ; http://www.ip-watch.org/2019/03/05/will-us-drug-pricing-politics-change-intimidation-practices-globally/

The global health world, particularly as concerns skyrocketing drug prices and patent abuse, is in a unique space in time. …”  While the Trump administration is still bullying the rest of the world (including in multilateral organisations), on these issues,

“… at home in the United States, there is a clear shift in paradigm on these issues. A number of legislative instruments have been introduced in the Senate and the House to address exorbitant drug prices. … … A number of 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidates including Sanders, Warren, Klobuchar, and Harris have made statements on the exorbitant prices set by the pharmaceutical industry.  … “

“… For decades, translating domestic US intellectual property into global norms has been high on the political agenda. Access to US markets was made contingent upon countries adopting US standards on intellectual property. Countries around the world are sorted into the USTR’s Special 301 ‘naughty list’ for countries that contravene its own standards on intellectual property, and this includes if they don’t provide the monopolies that the United States does for its own pharmaceuticals. … …

“…Drawing from these examples – could we see a shift in paradigm on traditional US hegemonic and bullying behaviour on drug pricing with a Democratic President post-2020?…”

She concludes: “While it is too early at this stage to make conclusive predictions on US drug pricing diplomacy post-2020, there are hopeful indications of a diplomatic shift, contingent upon who wins the 2020 elections. Countries and entities facing pressures from US agencies to accede to commitments that could further put medicines out of reach, or to cut back on legal mechanisms and sovereign rights to protect public health, would be wise to take stock and potentially delay accession to prevent unreasonable and long-lasting tradeoffs. They would also be wise to improve their bargaining position by building coalitions with developed nations – for example via support of the Italian resolution on drug pricing transparency at the World Health Assembly – or via non-health manoeuvres such as reducing dependency on US trade or military expertise, so as to avoid needing to make intellectual property or public health concessions.”


Some quick links:

Bloomberg Cheaper Insulin Is a Big Victory for Patients

News from the US: “ …Eli Lilly & Co. announced that it’s launching an authorized generic version of its best-selling insulin Humalog and that the list price of the drug – the pre-discount sticker price of the medicine – will be 50 percent lower than the current prescription brand…”

ReutersNew cancer-causing toxin found in recalled blood pressure pills

“U.S. health regulators said on Friday a third cancer-causing toxin was found in some blood pressure pills recalled by India’s Hetero Labs Ltd a day earlier, adding to a global recall of commonly used drugs to treat hypertension….”

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