Colombian Health Minister Alejandro Gaviria wanted to bring Colombians life-saving medication at an affordable price. Instead, he’s been hit with lawsuit threats from the world’s biggest drugmaker.
In Colombia, Swiss drugmaker Novartis has a near monopoly on life-saving leukemia medicine Gleevec. Which has allowed it to keep prices so high that a year of treatment costs twice the average Colombian’s yearly income.
Colombia made moves to declare Gleevec in the public interest to bring the life-saving medication to more people. But we just learned that Novartis issued a notice of intent to sue in international court to try to force the government to back down.
Tell Novartis to stop putting profits before people’s lives and stop inflating Gleevec prices in Colombia.
Gleevec is Novartis’ top-selling drug, and it’s already losing sales to generic competition in the U.S., which opened up in February. With its patent in Colombia set to expire in July 2018, Gleevec is taking desperate measures to protect its money making scheme.
Novartis went so far as to use its pharmaceutical lobby to encourage the U.S. to push Colombia to abandon the patent suit. Meanwhile, the company has a history of price gouging in Latin America, where it sells drugs for up to 1,317 percent more in Latin America than in other high-income countries like the UK.
It’s ludicrous for global multinationals like Novartis to use their power to bully entire countries into accepting inflated prices. If we can get Novartis to back off its suit, it sets a strong precedent for other countries dealing with rising prices for life-saving medicine. Let’s come together to push Novartis to do what’s right.