07/23/2009 Transcript
Israeli Pharmaceutical Trade Violations
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PressTV: According to a petition filed by the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy [IRmep] to the US Trade Representative, Israel has violated important provisions of the US-Israel Free Trade Agreement for years. The bilateral trade agreement signed in 1985 gave Israel privileged market access to the United States.  The [IRmep] petition cites a number of trade violations focused on intellectual property theft over a period of twenty years.

Grant Smith: The ability of Israel to benefit from access to the US market without tariffs has been immense.  It's created a gem diamond industry for them, it's created a massive military industrial export capacity for them, it's creating a massive pharmaceutical business.

PressTV During US Israel FTA negotiations in 1984 the Israeli government, along with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) obtained a classified 300 page document containing trade secrets, market share, product logistics and other industrial intellectual property submitted by seventy-six US companies opposed to the treaty with Israel.  Only seventeen lobbied for it.

Years later patented American innovations continue to privately flow to Israeli manufacturers, namely Israeli generic pharmaceutical makers who then sell billions of dollars of drugs into the American market. 

Grant Smith: As you can imagine, patent medicines are extremely costly to develop, and those are trade secrets. US companies, pharmaceutical companies are upset by the weak "data exclusivity" provisions offered by the [Israeli] Ministry of Health, because they see their data is not exclusive, it is being leaked almost immediately and used to their disadvantage.

PressTV:  Mr. Smith says TEVA, an Israeli pharmaceutical corporation is a major concern for questionable patent practices.  Johnson & Johnson, a major US firm successfully shut down one generic TEVA birth control launch over violation of its patents.  Last week the FDA recalled two lots of generic Propofol vials due to concerns that the TEVA manufactured drug had been causing flu-like symptoms and cold chills.

Grant Smith: TEVA is in that business.  It's basically in the business of taking innovations and monetizing them through generics production. They've [Israel] also got a huge and growing counterfeit drug industry which masks the generics industry, it's one step down.  They're a top ten global exporter of counterfeit pharmaceuticals, some of which are exact copies, others of which are dangerous copies that don't have active ingredients and actually represent a health risk.

PressTV: The petition recommends suspending the US-Israel FTA to protect the future wealth creation potential of American intellectual property, preserve the rule of law, and enhance governance in the United States through a comprehensive review of trade relationships between the US and Israel.

In response to the petition filed by the IRmep, the US Trade Representative issued this Federal Register notice, indicating they will not initiate an investigation under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974.

Jihan Hafiz, PressTV, Washington.