Thursday, April 20, 2006

Follow up: Pfizer's Philippines litigation

In order to express concern on the Pfizer's lawsuit in the Philippines, I contacted Mr. McKinnell, the CEO of Pfizer, by telephone, fax and letter. Today, I still have not received any response.

The letter:

1621 Connecticut Ave., NW, suite 500
Washington, DC 20009 USA
Tel.: +1.202.332.2670 Fax: +1.202.332.2673

Mr. Henry A. McKinnell
CEO, Pfizer Inc.
235 East 42nd Street
New York, NY 10017

April 3rd, 2006

Dear Mr. McKinnell:

As chairman of the board and the chief executive officer of Pfizer Inc., we are writing you to express our deep concern with the lawsuit that Pfizer has initiated in the Philippines against the government-owned pharmaceutical company (Philippine International Trading Corporation- PITC), the Philippines Food and Drug Administration (Bureau of Food and Drugs- BFAD), and two government officials, in their personal capacity (BFAD Director Leticia Barbara B. Gutierrez, and BFAD-LICD OIC Emilio L. Polig, Jr.).

Pfizer claims that the defendants have infringed on its patent for amlodipine besylate (commercialized in the U.S. under the trade name Norvasc® and in India as Amlogard®) by either importing samples of the same drug from India and submitting them to the Philippines drug regulatory authorities; or accepting the application.

Philippines government owned company (PITC) has repeatedly informed Pfizer that they do not intend to market the product until after the patent expires next year. The PITC is trying to use the broadly recognized “early working/bolar” patent liability exemption.

We have been informed that Pfizer’s intimidating tactics with the Philippines drug regulatory administration (BFAD) has already created a chilling effect. The result being that the BFAD is not even registering non-patented products if they would compete with Pfizer’s products.

This lawsuit has alerted many to the dramatic situation of amlodipine besylate’s patients in the Philippines due to Pfizer high prices. We enclose a blog entry we recently published with a more detailed analysis of the situation.

We believe Pfizer’s behavior in the Philippines is completely inappropriate, unethical and adversely affecting millions of people. At a time when the United States and the World corporations are facing important ethical challenges, we believe the unethical management of the world's largest research-based pharmaceutical company should draw your immediate attention.

We urge you to take personal responsibility in this case, stop the litigation and reduce the prices of amlodipine besylate in the Philippines.


Judit Rius Sanjuan
Consumer Project on Technology


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