Timmy elsewhere

Glaxo’s Very Sensible Change In IP Protections For Poor Countries

4 thoughts on “Timmy elsewhere”

  1. What’s the difference in outcome between this, and simply selling patented drugs at lower cost in poor countries? Either way they’re at risk of grey imports.

    Their proposal is actually worse, since there’s no guarantee that the poor countries will actually make the drug. The economy of e.g. Eritrea presumably isn’t conducive to setting up high-tech drug factories.

    At best GSK sheds any future liability towards consumers in poorer countries, in case any of their drugs turn out to be the new Thalidomide. Overall I don’t see much upside.

  2. If the drug turns out to be the next Thalidomide, that effect will be the same right across the world, so no, they won’t get out of their liability. If it’s only a problem in one (poor) country, then obviously you blame the generic manufacturer there, or maybe the vagaries of the local supply chain (storage conditions etc).

    But the grey import issue is a real one; it already happens with those drugs (antivirals for one) that are sold at cost in poor countries.

    I bet GSK will be watching the sales volumes in those countries very closely – being a shareholder I certainly hope so.

  3. Bloke in Germany in the Netherlands

    @AndrewM, the difference is the very substantial cost of securing and obtaining a patent, and regulatory approval in those places that have small markets but don’t piggy-back on one of the ICH regions or another regulator.

    But note the same applies to any generic manufacturer. I think this will end up with data-sharing agreements with local (or more likley not-so-local) generic manufacturers, to support licensing without the need for dozens of unnecessary in-country trials. And the generic of course taking the risks (regulatory, legal, safety). It’s a bit like the new airline model of having a premium carrier with a premium hub, and a budget carrier in all the not premium locations, under the same roof.

    Grey importing will be a little harder given the different manufacturer, and likely different product name,

  4. Bloke in Germany in the Netherlands

    Of course this comes at a time when EMA is trying its damndest to blow open every pharma database to public scrutiny anyway. Which has its pros and cons.

    Having a slice of your own competition is still better than leaving them to it. The real grey importing problem will become one of fake product from places with no functional IP to everywhere else.

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