15 House Dems Press USTR to Clarify Position on Compulsory Licensing of cancer drug patent in Colombia

Yesterday, fifteen House Democrats sent a letter to Ambassador Michael Froman at the United States Trade Representative to express serious concern that the United States officials have been pressuring Colombia to abandon the process of issuing a compulsory license on imatinib. The letter can be read here.

The signees cite to relevant international trade instruments that support Colombia’s right to issue a compulsory license, and state that, “Discouraging the issuance of compulsory licenses would be inconsistent not only with the Doha Declaration and with TPA, but also with the historic May 10 Agreement of 2007.”

The letter additionally refers to the “growing concerns about the very high and increasing costs of pharmaceuticals in the United States and in other nations,” and states that “we should not seek to limit the existing, agreed upon flexibilities public health authorities have to address these concerns.”

The letter was led by Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI), and also signed by Reps. Jim McGovern (D-MA), Jim McDermott (D-WA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Peter Welch (D-VT), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), John Lewis (D-GA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), David E. Price (D-NC), Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), and Sam Farr (D-CA).

For more on this, see Ed Silverman’s report in Stat News: “House Democrats Blast US Trade Rep for Pressuring Colombia over Novartis” (May 25, 2016).