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Colombia: Parallel import of Pharmaceuticals


There are certain rules that permit parallel import but this depends on the importing nation’s treatment of exhaustion of IPRs. Colombia seems to prevent parallel imports of pharmaceutical unless they are listed in the ‘Compulsory Health Plan’. However, later news from Colombia informs us that it appears that it will be possible to allow the importation of medicines without permission from the manufacturers which are not in the Compulsory Health Plan. The Colombia’s Government announces that this measure is to get them at lower prices.

The newspaper El Tiempo informs that this measure has started to show results since Products Roche SA (subsidiary of Roche Holding Ltd) has offered to reduce the prices of nine of its medicines. To this effect, the Ministry excluded these drugs from the list of subject of parallel imports, but left the door open to come to this facility if the prices increase again.

There is also another solution to high prices – compulsory licenses. However, I speculate that parallel imports are a good arrangement since Colombia is getting what its needed – to lower the price of pharmaceuticals.

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