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Month: May 2020

Federal attack on patents will hurt innovation

Hundreds of global pharmaceutical manufacturers have narrowed their sights on a vaccine or cure, which is a considerable undertaking in terms of cost.

By speeding up the approval process for any vaccine or drug intended to treat Covid-19, Health Canada has shown that it can be responsive in this pandemic. But, not every decision the federal government has made has been for the better. Especially when it comes to amending the Patent Act and completely sidestepping the patent process in our country, which will have some serious negative externalities. 

In amending this law, the government has given itself the power to override patents for drugs, vaccines and medical equipment allowing for manufacturers to create generic copies of patented drugs, without having to negotiate or settle with the patent owners. Only after the fact will patent holders be compensated, at a rate unilaterally determined by the government.

While “sticking it” to Big Pharma may sound fashionable, it will actually end up hurting more people in the end. Suspending patents via compulsory licensing runs the risk of seriously hindering the innovation process that creates new drugs in the first place. Medical innovation is needed now, more than ever, under the threat of Covid-19, and we must pursue it at any cost. What regulators fail to see in their move is that innovation and intellectual property are intrinsically linked and people would suffer without them both. 

Hundreds of global pharmaceutical manufacturers have narrowed their sights on a vaccine or cure, which is a considerable undertaking in terms of cost. IP rights are what provide incentives for these manufacturers to create innovative treatments and get a return on their investment to create new drugs. Even modest IP protections ensure that manufacturers recover costs, which allows them to continue the process of heavily investing in research and development. That’s something we should encourage, not erase.

An example of a patented medicine saving the lives of hundreds of thousands, without compulsory licensing, can be seen in the vast expansion and availability of Gilead’s Hepatitis C drug. Under a very extensive partnership campaign, Gilead licenses out their drugs to local partner firms in middle and low-income countries, offering the drugs at-cost. What easily clocks in at $100,000 USD is sold for hundreds to ensure that patients have access – all without upending patents.

Outside of innovation, the federal government’s patent retreat may not even work in the first place. Upending intellectual property rights doesn’t all of a sudden mean that newly permitted manufacturers have the knowledge and resources needed to scale up production. A generic manufacturer, as a result of changes to the Patent Act, may have the formula for a drug, but that doesn’t mean they can simply flip a switch and produce that drug at scale. 

Many of these generic manufacturers will not have the proper supply chain infrastructure needed to produce these drugs, and won’t be able to access the active ingredients needed in the face of growing medical export bans. India, one of the world’s largest producers of ingredients for medicines, has already implemented an export ban for 26 pharmaceutical ingredients and products, further compounding supply chain problems for producers of generics. 

In that sense, suspending patents is a lot like giving producers of generics the blueprints without access to the tools, labour, or raw materials needed to turn a building plan into a finished product.

While it may sound good to suspend patents in a pandemic, it should be recognized that doing so runs the risk of severely hindering both present and future innovation, which are so desperately needed. Added to that, examples like Gilead’s partnerships in middle and low-income countries prove that upending patents isn’t required to ensure drug availability. Rather than shredding intellectual property rights and patents to respond to Covid-19, the Canadian government should focus elsewhere.  Easing the regulatory approval process, fast tracking drugs approved by health regulators in other OECD countries, and eliminating tariffs on medical equipment would have more of an impact. 

We all want medical innovation and for Canadians to have access to the care and drugs they need. Let’s not make it more difficult to achieve that with bad public policy. 

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

Larangan jualan rokok semasa PKP kukuhkan pasaran gelap

KUALA LUMPUR – Mengehadkan akses kepada tembakau semasa Perintah Kawalan Pergerakan (PKP) telah mendorong kebanyakan pengguna beralih kepada pasaran gelap, menurut kaji selidik.

Ia merupakan dapatan daripada kaji selidik yang dijalankan oleh Populus sebuah firma perunding peneraju di dalam kaji selidik dan strateg dan merupakan penasihat kepada beberapa syarikat terkemuka, badan awam dan jenama di United Kingdom.

Menurut kajian itu, lapan daripada setiap 10 orang dewasa Malaysia (80%) bersetuju bahawa jika penjualan tembakau dilarang semasa tempoh PKP, orang ramai akan melanggar larangan tersebut demi untuk mendapatkan produk itu.

Hampir tiga per empat responden (72%, dan 78% perokok) pula bersetuju orang ramai akan terus membeli produk tembakau, tetapi jualan akan beralih kepada pasaran gelap/haram.

Menurutnya, tidak memeranjatkan apabila kebanyakan rakyat Malaysia (58%) beranggapan larangan tersebut akan menggalakkan orang berhenti merokok.

Namun, lebih ramai lagi (71%) bersetuju bahawa larangan itu meningkatkan penularan koronavirus menerusi penjualan produk haram yang tidak mempunyai piawaian keselamatan di dalam pengedaran.

Fred Roeder, Pengarah Urusan Consumer Choice Center berkata, berdasarkan kajian yang dibuat jelas menunjukkan orang ramai akan terus merokok dan berkemungkinan berusaha lebih lagi untuk mencari bekalan alternatif apabila rokok mereka sudah habis.

Di bawah langkah-langkah PKP, melakukan pergerakan tidak penting meletakkan nyawa di dalam bahaya kerana menambah risiko kontak dan penyebaran Covid-19.

Di Malaysia, semasa PKP, rokok tidak tersenarai sebagai barangan penting dan tidak dibenar untuk diedarkan, sekali gus mengakibatkan lonjakan dalam perdagangan rokok haram, sebagaimana dinyatakan oleh pihak berkuasa berkaitan di dalam laporan-laporan berita terkini.

Consumer Choice Center (CCC) adalah firma yang terlibat dalam melaksanakan kaji selidik awam.

Majoriti besar responden kaji selidik (72%) juga bimbang iaitu memasukkan larangan penjualan tembakau sebagai sebahagian daripada langkah kawalan pergerakan, akan mengalih sumber penting dalam usaha memerangi Covid-19 disebabkan pertambahan kos dan masa penguatkuasaan:

”Inisiatif menggalakkan orang ramai supaya berhenti merokok semasa PKP adalah suatu niat yang murni, ia sebenarnya gagal. Sebaliknya, langkah itu memperkasa sindiket jenayah antara-negara dan fasilitator yang rasuah, sekali gus menguatkan lagi kehadiran rokok haram yang bersifat endemik di Malaysia,’’ tambah Roeder.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

Public Health Agencies Care More About Controlling You Than Prepping For Pandemics

What were public health officials at every level of government doing last year? Were they preparing for a pandemic? Or were they using their office to meddle with your lifestyle choices?

The partisan political sniping over Covid-19 is completely predictable and counter-productive. There’s plenty of fault to go around, but the blame-gaming should be ignored or discounted for what it is: self-aggrandizing grandstanding.

It is, however, worthwhile to examine a tension that has been brewing in the public health world for decades. That dichotomy is: should we focus on communicable diseases, as has long been the mission of public health institutions, or do we have enough bandwidth and resources to venture out into the much more controversial area of non-communicable diseases (NCDs)?

To get to the answer, think about this. What were public health officials at every level of government doing last year? Five years ago? Were they first ensuring that their track and trace systems were in place for a pandemic? Or were they using their office to meddle with your lifestyle choices?

The discipline of public health has long been rooted in fighting contagious diseases. For the most part, it has done very well. Notwithstanding the current Covid-19 pandemic, sanitation, vaccines and therapies—mainly drugs—have dramatically reduced the toll of communicable diseases.

That success has led many in public health agencies, especially in the United States, to argue that we must now use our limited resources to combat NCDs, and that we can address both effectively. It isn’t exactly working out that way.

Efforts to fight non-contagious diseases such as heart disease and diabetes frequently raise questions about individual liberty, including the freedom to make poor choices. All too often, the politicized debate causes both sides to overstate or manipulate the science supporting their viewpoints.

When former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the biggest booster of today’s public health movement, campaigned against sugary drinks like soda, it landed the city’s health department in hot water. For instance, a taxpayer-funded ad campaign created by the Department of Health showed a photo of a man purportedly with amputated legs. The city’s ad agency had Photoshopped his legs out of the photo to support the valid claim that Type 2 diabetes can lead to amputations.

The Bloomberg administration’s antics, which even elicited criticism from within the health department, indicates the degree to which his wing of the public health movement has lost sight of its most primary and unifying functions: preparedness.

This lack of preparedness is not partisan. It exists in the current Republican administration, as it did in the prior Democrat administration. Cities, counties, and states long governed by each party were equally ill-prepared for a pandemic.

Commentators on the left and the right have referred to Coronavirus and Covid-19 as a “black swan event.” But it doesn’t meet the definition. A pandemic of this type was not only predictable, it was something communicable disease experts have warned about rather specifically for many years. The warning signs were ignored, and we were ill-prepared.

A 2007 review article in the American Society for Microbiology’s publication, Clinical Microbiology Reviews, entitled, “Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus as an Agent of Emerging and Reemerging Infection,” concluded: “Coronaviruses are well known to undergo genetic recombination, which may lead to new genotypes and outbreaks. The presence of a large reservoir of SARS-CoV-like viruses in horseshoe bats, together with the culture of eating exotic mammals in southern China, is a time bomb. The possibility of the reemergence of SARS and other novel viruses from animals or laboratories and therefore the need for preparedness should not be ignored.”

Rather than marshal finite resources towards preparedness for a coming communicable disease, lots of public health resources, including taxpayer dollars, media attention, and legislative priorities, were deployed to address non-communicable diseases, from domestic violence to gun regulation.

Think back to a different time not so long ago. During the second half of 2019, federal, state and city health officials throughout the country were busy confronting a new and scary lung disease. The health reporters covering them churned out news articles, regularly garnering front-page placement. Major charities such as Bloomberg Philanthropies were making large public health grants. So it should come as no surprise that the American public and political leaders were keenly focused on this emerging health threat.

The disease wasn’t Covid-19, of course. It was a something the Centers for Disease Control called e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury, or EVALI.

At the time, public health activists were, for years, calling for bans on the types of e-cigarettes used to quit smoking. Despite strong evidence that nicotine e-cigarettes are 95 percent less harmful than smoking and can help smokers quit, public health agencies treated e-cigarettes as the most important threat to public health. Yet they still failed to convince policymakers to institute widespread bans on the most popular e-cigarettes.

But as consciousness of EVALI reached a crescendo, states began to ban most flavored e-cigarettes, and the FDA further tightened the regulatory screws on nicotine-containing e-cigarettes.

It turned out that none of these nicotine e-cigarettes were ever responsible for the lung disease that bears their name. It took until late December for the Centers for Disease Control to (partly) acknowledge that the lung injuries were caused not by vaping liquid nicotine e-cigarettes such as Juul, but by the use of THC oil contaminated with vitamin E acetate.

Public health agencies were so ideologically opposed to e-cigarettes as a tool for tobacco harm reduction that they sowed panic, promulgated misinformation, and actually caused a failure to identify the true culprit in a life-saving and timely way. Still, nobody has been held accountable.

So, back to the question about communicable and non-communicable disease: Has public health been able to “do both” well? It turns out, that when purportedly trying to do both, public health hasn’t been able to do either effectively.

I’m not suggesting that public health’s EVALI scandal was the only or even primary culprit for the failure of public health departments around the country to ensure that their communities had an adequate supply of personal protective equipment in the event of a predictable communicable disease outbreak, or that the CDC was otherwise preoccupied. Instead, the EVALI episode was more of a symptom of something wrong in public health.

The institution of public health has largely been co-opted by those with a desire to control individual choices to such a degree that it has largely lost sight of its fundamental role of pandemic preparedness. At this point, taxpayers should realize that we are giving the keys to the public health car to people who have long been driving in the wrong direction.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

Allowing cannabis delivery is a good start. But too much weed is still being sold on the illicit market

Even with looser regulations, consumer demands still aren’t being met, writes David Clement, North American affairs manager at the Consumer Choice Center

One of the biggest criticisms of Canada’s legalization of cannabis is that its cumbersome rules and limited retail options can’t compete with the black market. What would help? Allowing cannabis home deliveries from retailers to continue after the pandemic.

It would also vastly improve the monopolized delivery system that existed before COVID-19 loosened some distribution regulations. For example, prior to the pandemic, the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) was incapable of doing same-day delivery via Canada Post. When the OCS did attempt to offer same-day delivery by contracting out a third party service, the provincial online retailer could only offer it to select areas, and soon discontinuedthat option altogether due to high demand.

The temporary measure allowing curbside pick-up and home deliveries by retailers is a no-brainer, but as with any government policy, the devil is in the details. Ontario’s is still a far-from-perfect system.

For one, there’s a provision that the delivery person must be an employee of the retailer. This is an unnecessary restriction that significantly limits scaling up. Retailers aren’t equipped with the capital nor the expertise to operate a fleet of vehicles. This is especially true as demand rises. They should be able to contract this out just like any other business can.

Secondly, the Ford government should allow third-party services to be used by licensed retailers, without the need for a licence. All Ontario has to do is follow Manitoba’s lead, which allows this. Making this change has the consumer benefit of allowing tech service companies to enter the market, giving legal retailers a leg up on the black market.

Eliminating the employee provision and allowing non-licensed tech companies to serve storefronts expands the options retailers have for getting products to customers. They could completely outsource their delivery through a third party with a cannabis delivery license, or they could work with other delivery apps, like restaurants do.

The province could require those non-licensed drivers to have their CannSell certificate, which is similar to Smart Serve for alcohol. CannSell costs $64.99 and would provide drivers the expertise to spot impairment and protect access from minors.

For the roll-out, the province could make this type of delivery legal tomorrow, and give drivers a 30-day grace period to complete their CannSell. When the province announced that restaurants could deliver alcohol with food orders, they did exactly that, giving food delivery drivers a month to get their Smart Serve Certificate.

Making cannabis delivery permanent rather than temporary would be a huge step forward for the legal market in Ontario. It would significantly benefit retailers. But more importantly, it would benefit consumers by expanding and enhancing their options.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

[Marketing Medium] Consumer Choice Center releases manifesto for post-COVID innovation

“Added to that, Certificate of Need laws in various states have slowed down the construction of new healthcare facilities and created a near-monopoly for large hospitals. Many states have already suspended these laws to deal with the coronavirus, and they should permanently repeal them,” said Ossowski.

source http://meltwater.pressify.io/publication/5ebbe1ac7ce8860004e54772/5aa837df2542970e001981f6

[Marketing Medium] Consumer Choice Center releases manifesto for post-COVID innovation

“Added to that, Certificate of Need laws in various states have slowed down the construction of new healthcare facilities and created a near-monopoly for large hospitals. Many states have already suspended these laws to deal with the coronavirus, and they should permanently repeal them,” said Ossowski.

from Consumer Choice Center https://ift.tt/3cFrbtW

[Marketing Medium] Il Consumer Choice Center rilascia il Manifesto per la libertà del consumatore post COVID-19.

“ Tra i vari settori in cui gli stati dell’Unione Europea, e specialmente l’Italia, dovrebbero aggiornare la propria legislazione, c’è l’accesso ai medicinali. In Italia dovrebbero seguire il buon esempio della Lombardia che ha emesso ricette anche via SMS durante questa emergenza per lasciare respirare gli ambulatori medici. “

from Consumer Choice Center https://ift.tt/2YZypW0

[Marketing Medium] Consumer Choice Center releases manifesto for post-COVID innovation

“One issue that many EU countries need to improve on, is fast and easy access to medicines. In a time when we want to practice social distancing, patients in certain countries do not have access to prescription medicine, or even non-prescription drugs online. As a result, we are forcing elderly people to see a doctor in person or go to a brick and mortar pharmacy. This is antiquated and does not stand up to the challenges of our time.

from Consumer Choice Center https://ift.tt/2SYXrAL

[Marketing Medium] Il Consumer Choice Center rilascia il Manifesto per la libertà del consumatore post COVID-19.

“ Tra i vari settori in cui gli stati dell’Unione Europea, e specialmente l’Italia, dovrebbero aggiornare la propria legislazione, c’è l’accesso ai medicinali. In Italia dovrebbero seguire il buon esempio della Lombardia che ha emesso ricette anche via SMS durante questa emergenza per lasciare respirare gli ambulatori medici. “

source http://meltwater.pressify.io/publication/5ebb8ce810a2f4000445b500/5aa837df2542970e001981f6

[Marketing Medium] Consumer Choice Center releases manifesto for post-COVID innovation

“One issue that many EU countries need to improve on, is fast and easy access to medicines. In a time when we want to practice social distancing, patients in certain countries do not have access to prescription medicine, or even non-prescription drugs online. As a result, we are forcing elderly people to see a doctor in person or go to a brick and mortar pharmacy. This is antiquated and does not stand up to the challenges of our time.

source http://meltwater.pressify.io/publication/5ebb8ce710a2f4000445b4ff/5aa837df2542970e001981f6

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