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15 July 2014Americas

Canada responds to Lilly’s NAFTA complaint

The Canadian government has responded to Eli Lilly’s complaint that recent decisions to invalidate two Lilly patents violated the North American Free Trade Agreement, saying that Lilly’s challenge is “wholly without merit”, and should be dismissed.

Last September, Lilly issued a Notice of Arbitration against Canada, alleging that recent court decisions that invalidated patents covering its lucrative Zyprexa (olanzapine) and Strattera (atomoxetine) drugs breached NAFTA terms.

Zyprexa is used in the treatment of schizophrenia, and Strattera is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

It claimed that the decisions violated Chapter 11 of NAFTA, which seeks to protect foreign investors, and sought CDN $500 million ($465 million) in damages.

In a statement dated June 30, the Canadian government described Lilly as a “disappointed litigant”, and said that its arguments were based on “misstatements of the content of Canadian law and of Canada’s international obligations.”

It added: “Its claim is wholly without merit and should be dismissed, with full costs to Canada.”

A spokesperson for Lilly told LSIPR that it would not comment on the specifics of the legal arguments being presented by either party to the arbitration, though added: “Lilly’s losses stem from the application in Canada of unique and burdensome patent utility standards which are inconsistent with international norms and Canada’s treaty obligations.

“Nothing in Canada’s Statement of Defense changes our view that Canada has violated its international obligations under NAFTA Chapter 11.”

In 2013, Lilly’s chief executive John Lechleiter told The Globe and Mail that recent Canadian court rulings favouring generic drug makers had cost the company more than CDN $1 billion ($930 million) in revenue, and was driving the company out of Canada. He added that the company was forced to cut about 280 jobs.

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More on this story

Americas
17 September 2013   Eli Lilly has filed a NOA against the Canadian government, alleging recent decisions that invalidated patents covering its Zyprexa and Strattera drugs were in breach of NAFTA.

More on this story

Americas
17 September 2013   Eli Lilly has filed a NOA against the Canadian government, alleging recent decisions that invalidated patents covering its Zyprexa and Strattera drugs were in breach of NAFTA.

More on this story

Americas
17 September 2013   Eli Lilly has filed a NOA against the Canadian government, alleging recent decisions that invalidated patents covering its Zyprexa and Strattera drugs were in breach of NAFTA.