One New Lobbying Facet: Merck Is Lobbying Congress On India’s Patent System

Okay — truth be told — I held this one back, as a separate item, for this morning’s top post.

Hidden in plain view, among the weedy details of Merck’s $5.7 million in spending on lobbyists in the first half of 2013 — is this: Merck is suddenly seeking (as all new spending in Q2 2013) a United States-imposed legislative solution of some sort, to what I’ll call the evolving populists’ approach to patent law, inside India.

After the Gleevec®No Patent in India” decision this past Spring, and Glenmark’s “at risk” launch of a generic sitagliptin phosphate franchise in India (causing a rather great tumult in Merck’s Januvia® franchise in-country), it is easy to see why Whitehouse Station’s lawyers would be talking to Congress about ways to press US-style intellectual property rules more forcefully back upon India’s body politic. Of course, it is also easy to see why India might herself seek a lower cost approach to providing life-saving medicines to her vast, and vastly poor, population.

The relevant bit, then, from Merck’s federal lobby disclosure form filings, of early last week:

. . . ..Trans-Pacific Partnership (no specific bill); biologic data exclusivity (no specific bill); US-EU trade agreement (no specific bill); trade promotion authority (no specific bill); treatment of intellectual property in India (no specific bill); additives in beef cattle (no specific bill); treatment of intellectual property in India. . . .

It will be interesting to see who comes out on top, in this battle of the titans. And to be sure, Pfizer, BMS, Sanofi, Abbott, Baxter, Lilly and Novartis (just to name a few) are also keenly interested, and spending like it — on this issue.

Closer to home, Merck is also lobbying Congress about compounders — likely seeking tougher regulation of them — so as to protect its market share, and margins — for its premixed drug solutions. Scant news there — as all the pure drug makers would be seeking the same, arguing primarily on supply-chain safety — after the scandals earlier this year. Now go have a productive, healthy choice infused day!

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