lucarista /
20 May 2016Americas

Colombia considers compulsory licence for Novartis’s Gleevec

Colombia’s health ministry has warned Novartis that it might override a patent that the company owns covering cancer drug Gleevec (imatinib).

This can result in the government office granting a compulsory licence to generic companies which would allow them to make a cheaper version of Gleevec.

If the government goes through with the compulsory licence it would reportedly save Colombia about $12 million a year.

The government argues that granting the licence would be in the public interest and will restore competition for the drug in the Colombian market.

Novartis, however, argues that compulsory licences should be reserved for public health emergencies.

In contrast, consumer advocates have countered this argument by saying that it is not necessarily required for compulsory a licence to be granted.

In negotiations, Novartis has rejected the health minister Alejandro Gaviria’s proposal to reduce the price for Gleevec to five US cents per milligram, which is less than half the current price.

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