Colombia threatens action against pricey Novartis leukaemia drug Gleevec - (The Standard via NewsPoints Desk)

  • Colombia's government has given Novartis a few weeks to decrease the price of its leukaemia drug Gleevec or face generic competition, The Standard reported Wednesday.

  • Documents leaked last week revealed the pressure placed on Colombia by drugmakers and members of the US Congress.

  • In one document, Colombia's embassy warned that breaking the patent for Gleevec could dampen US support for the country's efforts to join the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade zone and jeopardise $450 million in US financial assistance.

  • “They're very afraid that Colombia could become an example that spreads across the region," remarked Colombian health minister Alejandro Gaviria.

  • Novartis rebuffed Gaviria's request to decrease the price of Gleevec to 140 pesos per milligram, which would represent a more than 50-percent price cut.

  • In 2012, after a decade of litigation, a Colombian court awarded Novartis an exclusive licence on one of two forms of the drug.

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