Yesterday, Colombia took another disturbing step that again calls into question its commitment to innovation, manufacturing and the type of investment climate that is vital to grow its economy. Despite its own price controls and existing robust competition in its market, Colombia indicated it would be issuing a Declaration of Public Interest (DPI) to lower again the price of Glivec, an innovative pharmaceutical product. There was no need for this action given that the product is already available at a significantly reduced price, and there are already non-infringing generic versions available in the Colombian market.
Colombia’s focus on imposing even more price controls is not only unnecessary, but it is also a threat to an innovative manufacturing environment that is vital for any country seeking economic growth, an improved standard of living and better jobs. The innovative life sciences industry in the United States and worldwide not only creates new medicines that save lives and make life better, but it is also a source of continued economic progress and high-quality manufacturing that every country is seeking to grow. Colombia’s unjustified actions are another severe warning that innovative manufacturing is not supported by Colombia and in fact is increasing risk.
Over the past several years, Colombia has rejected its domestic and international commitments to the rule of law in several manufacturing sectors. In doing so, it is putting its reputation as a stable economy in which to do business at risk particularly for innovative manufacturing that depends on fair treatment and property protection.
We will surely hear compliments for Colombia’s actions among self-designated keepers of “public health” who want it all for free and have never spent years, millions of dollars or hired one worker to create the new cures that the world is increasingly seeking. They will make false claims about an access problem that simply does not exist. And they will ignore the fact that the innovative life sciences sector not only supports millions of jobs, but it is also the necessary pipeline for the generic industry they so seem to favor.
If actions like Colombia’s stand, we should indeed be worried about access to medicines and manufacturing jobs because it is precisely the innovative manufacturing sector that is on the front lines of creating lifesaving solutions and disseminating those solutions around the world, all while sustaining and growing some of the most desirable jobs in our and other countries’ economies.