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Colombia: Government squares off against Novartis over cancer drug monopoly

 |  May 24, 2016

Colombia’s health ministry has delivered an ultimatum, giving Swiss multinational pharmaceutical company Novartis a couple of weeks to bring down the price of a popular drug used in cancer treatment. The government has threatened the company with ending its current monopoly on the drug by allowing local labs to produce generic versions.

Documents created by Colombia’s embassy in Washington have described an intense pressure from Pharma sector lobbyists in the US congress to bear down on Colombia’s government over the controversy. THe embassy has warned that any action breaking Novartis’ monopoly on the Gleevec-Glivec drug, used in the treatment of leukaemia and other blood cancers in Colombia and other countries, could jeopardize the US’s backing for Colombia’s entry into the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement.

Colombian Health Minister Alejandro Gavíria, a trained economist, commented on the diplomatic pressure, saying this shows the lengths to which the pharmaceutical industry is willing to go in order to protect their interests. “They are very afraid that Colombia’s example might catch on in the region” said the minister.

Full Content: NTR Guadalajara

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