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Inside Views: Excessive Pricing And Sham Patent Litigation: The Pfizer And AbbVie Decisions

Competition law is a critical tool in seeking to maintain some semblance of reasonable pricing in the pharmaceutical market. It is particularly important as legislators around the world appear extremely hesitant to address pharmaceutical pricing in meaningful ways, regrettably influenced by well-funded lobbying.

Two recent competition law decisions discussed below illustrate the importance of and challenges to regulating the pharmaceutical sector. In the first, the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) partially upheld and partially reversed and remanded (pending briefing) a decision by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) fining Pfizer and Flynn close to £90 million for abuse of dominant position in the excessive pricing of an anti-epilepsy drug. The CAT decision is problematic because it creates unnecessary and unwarranted hurdles to findings of excessive pricing in the UK. In the second decision, the US Federal Trade Commission succeeds in proving that AbbVie engaged in abuse of monopoly power by engaging in sham patent litigation against two generic producers in order to delay market entry of competitive products. The Federal District Court found that AbbVie’s patent lawyers by “clear and convincing” evidence had knowingly pursued patent infringement claims without chance of success for no other purpose than to delay market entry.

Industry News

145 Organisations Urge EU Vote Against JURI Mandate On Copyright

Some 145 organisations have signed an open letter urging European Parliament to vote against the Legal Affairs (JURI) Committee mandate to negotiate on copyright reform. The European Parliament will meet on 5 July for a plenary vote on whether or not to endorse the mandate.

Industry News

Inside Views: WTO Panel On Australia’s Tobacco Plain Packaging: A Fact Dependent Analysis Of TRIPS Art 20

The WTO Panel’s long-awaited Reports in the four complaints against Australia’s tobacco plain packaging measures were circulated on 28 June 2018, more than 4 years since Panel establishment. Australia’s victory was absolute. It successfully defended its measures against every claim. Yet closer analysis of the Panel’s reasoning regarding specific provisions such as Article 20 of the TRIPS Agreement may cause some concern for policy-makers given how much the Panel’s conclusions relied on its assessment of the facts and evidence before it.

Industry News

Leaders On Global Trade Discuss Leadership And Current Trade Challenges

A recent event jointly organised by the Graduate Institute Centre for Trade and Economic Integration and the United Kingdom Department for International Trade and its Mission to the WTO brought together several leaders on global trade to discuss the current challenges in trade and how best to address them.

Industry News

WIPO IP And Genetic Resources Committee Makes Progress Despite Block At End

It seemed last week that after years of mainly fruitless discussions at the World Intellectual Property Organization committee seeking ways to protect genetic resources, progress was achieved and some agreement was within reach. However, on the last day, the United States, supported by Japan, rose against the consensus on a draft text, provoking the ire of developing countries, and general disappointment.

Industry News

WIPO Marrakesh Treaty On Copyright Exceptions For Blind Readers Clears US Senate

The World Intellectual Property Organization Marrakesh Treaty on copyright exceptions enabling international access to published works by blind and print-disabled readers was ratified this week by the United States Senate, putting it one step closer to final ratification in the country.

Industry News

eLife Trialing Radical New Approach To Peer Review

eLife, an online publisher of research in the life and biomedical sciences, is trialing a radical new approach to peer review to increase editorial transparency and promote more efficient access to innovative new research.

Industry News

Australian Tobacco Plain Packaging Upheld In Decision At WTO

A World Trade Organization dispute settlement panel has ruled that Australia's law requiring tobacco products be sold in plain packages in the interest of public health does not violate the country's obligations at the global trade body. In Australia and increasingly in other countries, tobacco must be sold with no trademarks or marketing visible other than name. The landmark dispute was seen by some as at the nexus of economic and health interests for the WTO.

Industry News

Disclosure, Sanctions – Still To Be Overcome In WIPO Genetic Resources Negotiations

Efforts to draft new language to bridge gaps in this week’s negotiations on a potential treaty protecting genetic resources at the World Intellectual Property Organization were praised by a number of participants. However, what is now presented as a "package" proposition, focusing the instrument on patents, left some developing countries with the feeling that the concessions they made on the patent-only focus are not being met with a similar efforts by others, in particular on a proposed disclosure requirement for patent applicants.

Industry News

Indigenous Knowledge Databases: Is It Something To Be Concerned About?

Almost all information today ends up in a database. It is organised and made readily accessible. While it sounds positive, for indigenous communities, it can be crucial. Databases of their knowledge, culture, and genetic resources, if misused, can undermine generations of community effort and maybe even their sustainability. A panel of indigenous peoples’ representatives presented their concerns about databases this week to governments attending a World Intellectual Property Organization meeting on genetic resources.