New AbbVie Head Blasts Canada’s Patent Laws On Drugs

Published: Oct 24, 2014

New AbbVie Head Blasts Canada’s Patent Laws On Drugs

October 24, 2014

By Riley McDermid, Breaking News Staff

It seems drug behemoth AbbVie Inc cannot stay out of the headlines lately, after its new head executive in Canada said this week that the country has outdated intellectual property laws and will not see much investment from big pharma until it reforms them.

Calling Canada’s regulations on patent protection “not in line with the standards we expect from a Western country,” Stéphane Lassignardie, who was named head of AbbVie Canada in June, blasted the country’s regulators in an interview with Canada’s Globe and Mail Thursday.

“You can have a disease, and it is better to be in this province than another province, because you are going to get better coverage here,” he said of the country’s splintered provincial drug laws. “To me, as a European, it is quite weird.”

The Canadian standard of only allowing a new drug eight to 10 years of patent protection compared to the 15 years most companies get as a blanket allowance in Europe also drew Lassignardie’s ire.

“If we could improve that and have a clearer and more predictable system, it would add to the incentive for the industry to invest in research in Canada,” he said.

Lassignardie was named to AbbVie’s top Canadian post after a stint as chief of the firm’s southern European operations. He made the remarks as part of a post-event interview after giving a presentation to MBA students at the University of Toronto.

AbbVie currently does not manufacture any of its products in Canada, although ti does have 400 employees there involved in clinical research in around 120 trials involving 10,500 patients. It has 25,000 employees worldwide.

An AbbVie spokesman did not return requests for comment Friday.

AbbVie has been in the news lately after scuttling a $55 billion proposed merger with Irish drugmaker Shire Pharmaceuticals in response to tougher tax laws in the U.S.

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