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Tuesday
May132014

Big Pharma worried about plain packaging

Well, this is interesting.

The International Trademark Association is currently holding its Annual Meeting in Hong Kong and speaker after speaker has expressed concern about plain packaging.

One of the speakers was Myrtha Hurtado Rivas, global head of trademarks, domain names and copyright at Novartis in Switzerland. (That's right, Big Pharma.)

The pharmaceutical industry, as well as food and alcoholic drink manufacturers, could be under pressure from the spread of plain and standardised packaging, delegates at INTA's annual meeting in Hong Kong were told today, May 12.

“Going too far will make things more difficult in the fight against counterfeit drugs. There are other things that can be done,” said Myrtha Hurtado Rivas, global head of trademarks, domain names and copyright at Novartis in Switzerland.

She was one of a series of speakers who warned that after the introduction of plain packaging for cigarettes in Australia, other jurisdictions were likely to follow and other industries would be hit by similar measures.

The pharmaceutical industry supports regulation, said Hurtado Rivas, “but major doubts persist whether standardisation and plain packaging will achieve these objectives”, she said.

That's not all:

Trevor Stevens, a lawyer and trademark attorney at Davies Collison Cave in Australia, said there is no evidence that plain packaging has reduced or is likely to reduce smoking rates in Australia.

However, he said, following the government's successful implementation of the legislation, alcohol and food could both have packaging restrictions imposed.

Ronald van Tuijl, IP trademarks director at the JT International subsidiary of Japan Tobacco in Switzerland, agreed. “History has shown that what happens to tobacco first will happen to others,” he said.

Are you listening, David Cameron?

See INTA 2014: Pharma concerned about plain packaging's advance (WIPR)

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Reader Comments (1)

But, but, but .... Surely they must know by now that tobacco is an "entirely unique product" and that all those arguments about "slippery slopes" and "domino effects" just can't be valid because - well - because Debs Arnott said so, didn't she? I mean, it's not as if we've seen any application of the anti-tobacco template in any other areas - not in booze, not in salt, not in sugar, not in fast food, not in sitting down, not in standing up, not in picking our noses, not in ....

Have we?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014 at 2:06 | Unregistered CommenterMisty

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