Eli Lilly Raises Stakes: Says Canada Now Owes It $500 Million For Not Granting A Patent It Wanted
from the too-much-is-never-enough dept
A few months ago we wrote about the extraordinary — and worrying — case of Eli Lilly suing Canada after the latter had refused to grant a pharma patent. Eli Lilly’s contention was that by failing to grant its patent (even if it didn’t meet the criteria for a patent in Canada), Canada had “expropriated” Eli Lilly’s property — and that it should be paid $100 million as “compensation”.
But it seems that the company has had second thoughts. Not that its action was outrageous, and that it ought quietly to retract its suit in the hope that people might just forget about this display of presumption; instead, it has decided it was far too generous in asking for only $100 million, as this Globe and Mail story explains:
U.S. pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Co. has escalated a challenge it launched last year against Canada’s patent rules under the North American free-trade agreement, and is now demanding $500-million in compensation after the company lost its Canadian patents on two drugs.
Indianapolis-based Lilly has expanded the NAFTA case over the loss of its patent for Strattera, a drug used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, to also include Canada’s invalidation of the company’s patent for Zyprexa, which is used to treat schizophrenia.
This shows that the initial action was no one-off, and that if Eli Lilly’s action succeeds, we can expect it and many other companies to avail themselves of this method of extracting money from the public purse, as provided for under NAFTA’s investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) clauses.
What’s troubling is that similar ISDS schemes are being negotiated for both TPP and TAFTA/TTIP. That will give corporations even more opportunities to sue nations for supposed “expropriation”, and to challenge perfectly legitimate local laws that dare to stand in the way of bigger profits.