Health

The investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions proposed in trade agreements give pharmaceutical corporations the right to sue governments for compensation if domestic laws negatively affect future earnings on their intellectual property or investments, and even if these laws are in accordance with public interests. Better access to medicines or preventing unsafe or ineffective medicines from entering the market could prove problematic.

Major US, Canadian and French pharmaceutical companies have recently challenged pro-public health measures through ISDS disputes brought under ISDS provisions.

Chemical corporations have also used ISDS in numerous occasions to challenge national bans on hazardous substances.

Most well-known cases include:

• Ethyl (US) vs. Canada: following Canada’s ban on the toxic petrol additive MMT, the US producer sued for US$201 million in compensation. In 1998, Canada agreed in a settlement to pay US$13 million and withdrew the ban (NAFTA invoked).

• Eli Lilly (US) vs. Canada: the pharmaceutical corporation challenged Canada’s patent standards after Canadian courts invalidated the company’s supplementary patents for Strattera and Zyprexa, claiming the drugs were not sufficiently innovative. The investor is claiming C$500 million. Case pending (NAFTA invoked).

• Dow Chemical (US) vs. Canada: the chemical corporation initiated a dispute for losses it alleged were caused by a Quebec provincial ban on lawn pesticides containing the active ingredient 2,4-D, classified as a possible carcinogen and one of the ingredients in Agent Orange, the herbicide widely used during the Vietnam war. In a settlement in 2011, the ban was sustained but Quebec was required to state that “products containing 2,4-D do not pose an unacceptable risk to human health or the environment provided that the instructions on their label are followed.” (NAFTA invoked.)

(October 2015)

The Age | 21-Dec-2015
I only wish to caution that we should be wary of anyone who suggests that the decision demonstrates that ISDS isn’t problematic.
BEUC | 3-Dec-2015
Although TPP seems a remote issue, it could have a direct impact on EU consumers.
ISDS Corporate Attacks | 29-Nov-2015
Eureko v. Poland. Case settled (investor obtained $1.6 billion).
Fool | 24-Nov-2015
Philip Morris is dragging countries with tight tobacco regulations into costly legal battles.
AFTINET | 5-Nov-2015
Preliminary analysis of the thousands of pages of the main chapters of the TPP text show there are still devils in the detail on medicine monopolies, investor rights to sue governments and copyright monopolies.
Red del Tercer Mundo | 16-Oct-2015
Finalmente concluyeron las negociaciones sobre el Acuerdo de Asociación Transpacífico (TPP). Si bien el texto oficial aún no se ha hecho público, a partir de informes de prensa y textos filtrados pueden hacerse algunos comentarios preliminares. En primer lugar, el comercio es solo una parte del TPP.
CEO | 12-Oct-2015
EU trade deals with Canada and the US could endanger citizens’ rights to basic services like water and health, as negotiators are doing the work of some of the EU’s most powerful corporate lobby groups in pushing an aggressive market opening agenda in the public sector.
AITEC | 12-Oct-2015
Les services publics de l’Union européenne se trouvent sous la menace des accords de commerce transatlantiques, et ce au profit des multinationales.
Global Trade Online | 7-Oct-2015
Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries have agreed on language that will allow members to exclude tobacco control measures from the scope of investor-state dispute settlement.
The Edge Markets | 2-Oct-2015
Governments will be allowed to block tobacco companies from suing over anti-smoking measures under a US proposal being considered by Pacific trading partners as part of Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

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