PhRMA Statement on NAFTA Tribunal Decision in the Eli Lilly Case

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 21, 2017) — Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) issued the following statement.

“We are disappointed that the tribunal’s decision was made on narrow investment dispute grounds and did not even address whether Canada’s “promise” doctrine is consistent with NAFTA intellectual property rules. The patent utility or “promise” doctrine that enabled Canada to expropriate Lilly’s patents continues to undermine Canada’s stated goal of shifting to an innovation economy. Canada remains the only country in the world that interprets patent utility in this manner, breaking the letter and spirit of its international commitments on intellectual property rights.

“Canada has used this discriminatory policy in 28 court decisions that invalidated 25 patents on 21 medicines over the last decade, targeting only pharmaceutical companies. Canada’s actions have undermined patent protection and removed a critical incentive that drives and sustains biopharmaceutical innovation. This policy also hurts Canadian patients and the medical community. Since the institution of the promise doctrine the number of clinical trials conducted in Canada has declined 21 percent.

“If Canada truly plans to recognize the importance of innovation, and evolve from a natural-resource based economy to one founded on science, innovation, and research, either the Courts or Parliament must fix this backwards policy.

“We know that Canada wants to, and can be, an innovation leader. Fixing this provision will highlight Canada’s commitment to protecting intellectual property, demonstrating that Prime Minister Trudeau’s Government is doing all it can to grow Canada’s economy."

About PhRMA

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country’s leading innovative biopharmaceutical research companies, which are devoted to discovering and developing medicines that enable patients to live longer, healthier and more productive lives. Since 2000, PhRMA member companies have invested more than half a trillion dollars in the search for new treatments and cures, including an estimated $58.8 billion in 2015 alone.

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