EU Disputes New Turkish Rules Requiring Pharma To Produce Drugs Locally

The European Union last week brought a dispute against Turkey at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) over new Turkish measures that would require pharmaceutical companies to move drug production to the country in order for those drugs to be eligible for reimbursement under the Turkish health system.

“Turkey is discriminating against EU pharmaceuticals producers by forcing them to move production there. This is a clear violation of WTO rules and puts many EU jobs at risk,” Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Trade, said, quoted in a press release.

As part of localising production, the measures could also require pharmaceutical companies to transfer their technology, including patent rights for the medicines, to Turkish-based manufacturers, according to the EU request for WTO consultations with Turkey.

“These measures are a clear violation of Turkey’s WTO obligations to treat foreign companies on equal footing with domestic ones, and to protect intellectual property of foreign companies, such as patents and business information, on its territory,” the European Commission said in the release.

If implemented, these measures would affect EU pharmaceutical exports to Turkey reaching €460 million, and could potentially affect all EU exports to Turkey, it said.

The consultations will now last up to 60 days, and if a solution is not reached, the EU can then request the WTO to set up a panel to rule on the issue.

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