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Colombia slashes price of cancer treatment Glivec Posted 13/01/2017

The Colombian Ministry of Health and Social Protection (Ministerio de Salud y Protección Social, MinSalud) has unilaterally ruled to cut the price of Novartis’ blockbuster leukaemia drug, Glivec (imatinib), by 44%.

The news follows the announcement by Colombia’s MinSalud in September 2016 that it was going to enforce a declaration of public interest and cut the prices for Glivec, also known as Gleevec, in Colombia [1].

The move follows the recommendation by a committee of the MinSalud that a compulsory licence be issued for Glivec in order to ‘restore competition for this product in the Colombian market,’ and to bring ‘financial sustainability to the health system’ [1].

This is the first time that Colombia has declared a patent of public interest and reduced the price of a drug. In this case the price of Glivec will be reduced from 368 pesos per milligram to 206.42 pesos per milligram.

Colombia’s MinSalud and Novartis had been in negotiations to reduce the price of Glivec. Novartis charges more than double the nation’s per capita income to treat a patient with Glivec for one year. However, negotiations failed and were abandoned.

Novartis has had a monopoly on imatinib in Colombia since 2012 when generics were banned in the country after a decade of litigation. Prior to 2012, generics had reduced the cost of the drug to 197% of the originator drug. Novartis has announced that it will fight its case in the Colombian courts, since its patent rights for Glivec in the country only expire in 2018.

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Colombia fighting to break Glivec monopoly

Colombia recommends compulsory license for Glivec

Reference
1. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Colombia to enforce declaration of public interest for Glivec [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2017 Jan 13]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/Policies-Legislation/Colombia-to-enforce-declaration-of-public-interest-for-Glivec

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Source: MinSalud, Reuters

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