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).

• Philip Morris Asia (Hong Kong) vs. Australia: When Australia introduced plain packaging for all tobacco products in 2011, Philip Morris sued Australia before an arbitral tribunal. In its December 2015 decision, the tribunal dismissed the case, albeit on legal grounds only. Australia spent A$24 million in legal costs but Philip Morris only paid half, leaving the Australian taxpayers to pay the other half. As a consequence of this case, countries ranging from Namibia, Togo to New Zealand decided to wait to introduce their own plain packaging for tobacco products. (Australia-Hong Kong BIT 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.)

(March 2020)

National Magazine | 11-Sep-2020
Tensions are likely to surface between the public-policy directions of governments managing a challenging economic climate and foreign investors’ private interests.
Diario 16 | 7-Sep-2020
El 19 de febrero de 2010, la empresa tabaquera más grande del mundo, Philip Morris, presentó una demanda contra Uruguay ante el Centro Internacional de Arreglo de Diferencias relativas a Inversiones (CIADI), en la que se alegaba la violación del Tratado Bilateral de Inversión entre Suiza y Uruguay.
International Law Office | 4-Sep-2020
With state measures in response to COVID-19 being compounded by an already difficult economic environment for investors, they may have little choice but to challenge those measures.
Corrs Chambers Westgarth | 28-Aug-2020
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, governments globally are engaging in a difficult balancing act of protecting public health, mitigating economic damage and avoiding interference with private rights.
TNI | 24-Aug-2020
Latin America’s battle with COVID-19 hampered by investment arbitration cases.
Marianne | 24-Aug-2020
Les cabinets d’avocats d’affaires poussent pour que les multinationales attaquent les États pour leur avoir fait perdre du chiffre d’affaires durant le confinement.
TNI | 20-Aug-2020
América Latina entre la crisis de la pandemia y el arbitraje de inversiones.
SSRN | 20-Aug-2020
Recent jurisdictional decisions suggest that sovereign debt will be subject to bilateral investment treaties for the foreseeable future.
IPS | 18-Aug-2020
Predatory international law firms are encouraging multimillion-dollar investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) lawsuits citing Covid-19 containment, relief and recovery measures.
Biodiversidad en América Latina | 11-Aug-2020
La Internacional de Servicios Públicos, en asociación con la Fundación Friedrich Ebert, está produciendo una serie de cuatro artículos investigando como los tratados de libre comercio, el neoliberalismo y la falta de justicia fiscal socavaron la respuesta sanitaria y socioeconómica de la crisis generada por la pandemia de Covid-19.

0 | 10 | 20 | 30 | 40 | 50 | 60 | 70 | 80 | ... | 180