Last month, Eli Lilly, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in North America, filed a lawsuit against Canadian taxpayers for $500 million dollars. On what basis is an American corporation suing us for such an outrageous sum you ask? The $4.3 billion dollars Eli Lilly earned in profit in 2011 was not enough for the pharmaceutical giant.
Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a company can sue another NAFTA country if that nation’s laws affect its expected future profit. In this case, Eli Lilly is “losing profit” because Canadian regulators dared to act within Canadian laws and rightly denied patents on two of Eli Lilly’s expensive drugs.
These lost-profit lawsuits by profit-hungry corporations have to stop — otherwise, we will see the beginning of copycat lawsuits by foreign companies against Canadians. Speak out now against Eli Lilly and tell it to stop profit-motivated lawsuits like this one.
This lawsuit will cost Canadian taxpayers hundreds of thousands dollars in legal fees. And if the Canadian government loses the case, we will have to pay out $500 million dollars of our tax money to Eli Lilly. In the long run, we’ll even have to pay higher prices to access Lilly’s expensive ADHD and schizophrenia drugs.
It’s ridiculous for Eli Lilly sue Canadian for lost profits. Eli Lilly already makes millions of dollars in Canada a year. Also, Eli Lilly is just randomly guessing how much money it is supposedly losing — in March it was reported that Eli Lilly was going to sue Canada for $100 million dollars, but then it arbitrarily decided last month that it is losing $500 million dollars in profit instead.
This is the first attempt by a corporation to use the NAFTA clause to sue for lost profits. Corporations and governments around the world are watching this case, as this could open floodgates to more lawsuits against taxpayers because they are not making enough profits. Reports indicate that an American company may sue Canada for $250 million dollars because we are acting within our right and not letting it extract shale gas in Quebec.
Currently, the Canadian government is negotiating a number of other trade agreements, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Canadian-China FIPA, behind closed doors. By filing this case, Eli Lilly may also be setting a precedent for companies in TPP and FIPA countries to sue us as well.
We’ve gone up against big corporations using trade deals to expand their profits before, and we can stop them again. Let’s stop the lawsuits against Canadians by corporations seeking more profits before they happen. Call on Eli Lilly now to drop its ridiculous lawsuit because it did not make enough profit.
Thanks for all that you do,
Angus and the rest of us.
Lilly ramps up NAFTA fight over loss of patents, Globe and Mail, 15 July 2013