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Medicines Bill to be Fast-tracked With the Completion of the Senate Committees (Phillipines)

This article was originally published in PharmAsia News

Executive Summary

Philippines Senator Mar Roxas on Sunday said the approval of a proposed "cheaper medicines" bill could be fast-tracked once the composition of the Senate Committees on Trade and on Health is completed, which he predicted to happen this week. "We're just waiting for the committees to be fully constituted, and then we'll start the hearings as soon as possible," he said. Roxas said that the battle for flexibility in patent laws on medicines is an international battle. "In the international front, steps are being taken to make life-saving medicines affordable and available to all. We must not be left behind," he stated. Roxas said he was buoyed by an Indian court's recent decision to reject patent infringement claims by Novartis AG for its cancer medicine Glivec. The bill also provides a legal mechanism for the importation of cheaper drugs whose patents have not expired locally, otherwise known as parallel importation. The bill also provides an "early working doctrine" where generic drug manufacturers are allowed to experiment, produce and register patented drugs even prior to expiration of their patents. (Click here for more

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