Canada Blinks in Face of US/Pharma Pressure – Supreme Court Adopts Wink-Wink Patent Utility Rule

In a stunning reversal of policy, on June 30, 2017, the Supreme Court of Canada overturned decades of precedent making it easier for the biopharmaceutical industry to gain patents on medicines without any real proof of a claim that a putative invention has any meaningful utility.  This reversal in AstraZeneca Canada Inc. v. Apotex, Inc. is particularly disconcerting because Canada had just won an investor-state arbitration award in the long awaited Eli Lilly v. Canada case upholding its more stringent promise/utility doctrine that had been used successfully to overturn two dozen secondary patents, particularly those claiming new uses of known medicines, where patent claimants failed to present evidence in support of the prediction of therapeutic benefit promised in their patent applications.

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Trump’s Draft Executive Order on Pharmaceutical Pricing: Dangerous Medicine for Consumers at Home and Abroad

BY: Professor Brook K. Baker, Northeastern U. School of Law, Health GAP Senior Policy Analyst

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A draft of President Trump’s Executive Order (EO) on “Reducing the Costs of Medical Products and Enhancing American Biomedical Innovation” has been leaked, and the text provides a concerning first look at the administration’s dangerous medicine for consumers at home and abroad. As expected, the leaked text places significant blame for high US prices, not on the monopolies enjoyed by biopharmaceutical companies, but on foreign countries that “pay too little” for medicines and that “devalue American innovation,” for example by utilizing price controls or refusing to list for reimbursement drugs that are priced in excess of their therapeutic value. There is no evidence that these policy moves by foreign countries are responsible for high drug prices in the US.

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Trump’s Drug Pricing Executive Order is Likely to be an Unfettered Giveaway to Big Pharma: Insights from 2017 Special 301 Report

BY: Professor Brook K. Baker, Northeastern University School of Law; Health GAP, Senior Policy Analyst  

An Executive Order (EO) on drug pricing anticipated from President Trump will advance intellectual property standards and protections that support unrestricted monopoly pricing by multinational biologic and pharmaceutical companies overseas. Far from reducing prices for US consumers, these efforts will obstruct access to essential medicines in foreign countries while maintaining price-gouging practices in the US. The EO will do so based on claims that foreign countries provide insufficient protection for US pharmaceutical companies’ monopoly interests and thus that US consumers and payers pay more than their fair share towards research and development.  According to a leaked memorandum addressing President Trump’s expected Executive Order on drug prices and trade policy:  

Extending the patent life of drugs in foreign markets to “provide for protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights” will ensure “that American consumers do not unfairly subsidize research and development for people throughout the globe.” 

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AIDS Activists Push PEPFAR Plans Toward Higher Impact

Civil society groups recently capped a busy few months of advocacy around the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) that succeeded in moving many millions of dollars toward key community priorities to improve the AIDS response. Health GAP has been part of a collaborative advocacy effort with allies in a dozen countries and global networks to use the PEPFAR Country Operational Planning (COPs) process to push U.S. AIDS funding into high-impact, evidence-based programming that meets the real needs and demands of affected communities.

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AIDS activists fought back during Trump’s first 100 days

Unlike Trump, we accomplished a lot in the last 100 days! Starting on Inauguration Day, SGAC and the grassroots network of our AIDS activist accomplices pushed a record 156 Representatives to sign a “Dear Colleague” letter demanding full funding for the global AIDS response, wrote 14 letters to the editor, and held 24 in-district meetings with Members of Congress.

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