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The Colombian health minister was warned directly last month by Colombian Embassy officials in Washington D.C. to reconsider plans to sidestep a Novartis drug patent over concerns the US government would rethink its support for a peace initiative and trade treaty, according to a newly disclosed letter.

The warning was one of two missives sent last month by the Colombian Embassy just days after Health Minister Alejandro Gaviria indicated he may issue a so-called compulsory license, which would allow a generic company  to make a lower-cost version of the Gleevec leukemia treatment.


As we reported previously, the plan to issue a license, which is designed to save Colombia about $12 million annually, angered Novartis and prompted both the Senate Finance Committee and the US Trade Representative to seek meetings with Colombian embassy officials to express their concerns.

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