Timeline of disputes over pharmaceutical patent protection in the Dominican Republic Version 1.0 Susannah Markandya July 23, 2001 1911. First Patent Law in the Dominican Republic. According to the U.S Government's 1999 Report on Foreign Trade Barriers, this law "provides for broad exclusions of subject matter from patentability, and include onerous local working requirements." October 30, 1992. Dominican Republic Ambassador asks USTR for technical assistance to upgrade DR's Intellectual Property Rights regime. January 1993. WIPO experts, including Dr. Ricardo Antequera Parilli, are invited to the Dominican Republic to evaluate Intellectual Property Rights framework. July, 1993. WIPO draft Intellectual Property Rights law is evaluated by the Commission on Intellectual Property Rights and sent to the President. November 1993. Government of Dominican Republic requests additional technical assistance from UNDP. March 9, 1995. Dominican Republic becomes a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). April 30, 1996. Dominican Republic placed on Special 301 "Other Observations" by the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), under Section 182 of the Trade Act of 1974. August 16, 1996. Fernandez Reyna Administration restarts the Intellectual Property Rights law drafting project. December 31, 1996. Dominican Republic Department of Health issues Resolution No. 11-96, which states that "the issuance of a health registration by the Department of Health is not conditioned on the existence or not of a patent of invention." January 17, 1997. DR Department of Health and the Department of Industry and Commerce jointly issue Resolution No. 2-97. This confirms Resolution No. 11-96, and requires patent applications to make a submission to the Department of Health for opinion on "novelty and industrial application." April 30, 1997. USTR places Dominican Republic on Special 301 "Watch List" by USTR. June 11, 1997. Ministry of Industry and Commerce completes its review on IPR law, incorporating comments by WIPO, IADB and SELA into the draft. June 13, 1997. The Industrial Property Rights draft is sent to Dominican Republic private sector for comments. July 17, 1997. The US Secretary of State submits "Comments on Draft Patent Law" to the American Embassy. August 1, 1997. Madeline Albright contacts the American Embassy and articulates her concerns regarding recent reports from PhRMA which claim that the Government of the Dominican Republic is using a consultant who "has been associated with the Argentine pirate pharmaceutical industry." The Action Request states that "Washington Agencies believe that the GODR could benefit from a broader range of expert advice." (Correspondence from Secretary of State to the American Embassy, "GODR's Industrial Property Bill Consultant.") August 26, 1997. US, UK and German Ambassadors meet with members of the trade association representing US and other multinational pharmaceutical companies in the Dominican Republic (EFID). According to US government sources, the EFID representatives briefed the Ambassadors on the provisions in the law which discriminate against the owners of patents. (Correspondence between Ambassador Donna J Hrinak and Secretary of State, "Update on Pharmaceutical Patent Issues.") August 29, 1997. US Ambassador Donna J Hrinak writes to US Secretary of State. She asserts that "the treatment of pharmaceutical patents is worsening" and concludes that "there will be no change in policy without substantial pressure from the US and other governments." February 23, 1998. Submission by PhRMA for the "Special 301" Report on Intellectual Property Barriers 1998 states that "since the 1980's, owners of pharmaceutical products have been subject to the violation of their registered patents." PhRMA mentions reservations they have over the fact that ALIFAR, the umbrella Latin American association representing the local companies in the region, recently located its headquarters in Santo Domingo. In their view, "these anti-patent forces are likely seeking to make the Dominican Republic an example of how to undercut adequate and effective patent protection for pharmaceuticals." PhRMA member companies in the DR estimate that if intellectual property would be enforced exports could increase up to US $50 million. March 13, 1998. Correspondence between Linda E Watt at the American Embassy and Secretary of State, "1998 Special 301 Process: Status of Dominican Law and Other IPR Notes," outlines US Government concerns over the influence INFADOMI, "the association representing the industry pirates" seemingly exerts over the impending Industrial Property Bill. The Ambassador refers to the fact that "INFADOMI is reported to have contributed significantly to the President's 1996 campaign." Watt concludes that "we remain skeptical about any real intent to move forward on IPR issues in the absence of significant pressure from the US and /or other governments." April 29, 1998. The Government of Dominican Republic issues Decree No. 148-98. According to US sources this "introduces significant changes in the process for obtaining health registrations for pharmaceutical products as well as establishing national standards for the manufacture and importation of pharmaceutical products." (Correspondence between American Embassy and Secretary of State, "IPR-Draft Legislation and Possible Regulatory Changes," October 23, 1998.) May 1, 1998. USTR upgrades Dominican Republic to Special 301 "Priority Watch List." July, 1998. District Attorney in Santo Domingo establishes IPR Unit with an increased budget, which will, according to Dominican Republic sources "enable the DR to increase prosecutions of patent law violators." July 16, 1998. Dominican Supreme Court upholds a suit brought by Bayer against a Dominican National Laboratory Ethical Pharmaceutical for violation of the Bayer patent for the substance "Ciprofloxacina". Reportedly, this decision states that the patent holder or designee is the only one authorized to commercialize a product under patents issued in the DR. July 23, 1998. Correspondence from Linda E. Watt at the American Embassy to Secretary of State, titled "Argentine Pirates Setting their Sights on Viagra" highlights US Government apprehension over steps taken by Rowe, a local pharmaceutical laboratory allegedly 50% owned by Argentine manufacturer Roemmers, to obtain health registration to commercialize the active substance in Viagra. US concerns are mounting in light of the recent signature of a free trade pact with Central America, which "could prove further scope for the export of pirate pharmaceuticals from the Dominican Republic." September 11, 1998. The Linda E Watt at American Embassy highlights the need to prevent the Secretariat of Health for the Dominican Republic, Sespas from "allowing Viagra piracy" under the DR's system of `Health Registrations'. Reportedly, President Fernandez intervened with the Secretary of Health, instructing her not to allow the issuance of duplicate health registrations in the case of Viagra. The comment from the US Embassy in Santo Domingo concludes, "the events surrounding the handling of the Viagra health registration have demonstrated once again the control the local pharmaceutical industry has over Sespas.This underlines the need for a legal regime that will automatically protect patent rights." (Correspondence from American Embassy to US Secretary of State, "Pirates at Bay.") October 1, 1998. "Market Order Code" package of new IPR laws introduced in Dominican Congress. October 23, 1998. Correspondence between Linda E Watt at the American Embassy and US Secretary of State, "IPR-Draft Legislation and Possible Regulatory Changes," reveals that "the Embassy plans to inform individual Senators (in the Dominican Republic) about our concerns about the Intellectual Property Legislation." October 23, 1998. Correspondence between Linda E Watt and US Secretary of State, "IPR-Bayer Wins in DR Supreme Court." Under the subheading "Other Legal Actions by the Good Guys," the Ambassador reports that Reftel, Pfizer and Merck Sharp & Dohme are preparing "to contest before the Supreme Court the constitutionality of the resolutions issued at year end 1996 and early 1997 which allow the commercialization of drugs in the DR by companies that do not hold product patents." January 22, 1999. District Attorney for the National District, in collaboration with USIS, conducts several workshops on intellectual property rights, taught by Doris Long, a Professor at John Marshall School of Law. This is part of an awareness campaign undertaken by the Dominican Government which includes training on basic industrial rights for government officials, the business sector and judicial personnel. January 22, 1999. A suit is filed before the Dominican Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of Resolution No 2-97 and No 11-96. Among the companies that sign onto the suit are giants Merck Sharp & Dohme, Bayer, Bristol Myers Squibb, Boehringer Ingelheim and Pfizer. February 4, 1999. Dominican Government Resolution No 9-99 repeals Resolution 2-97. February 9, 1999. Minister of Industry and Commerce and the Minister of Health issue Resolution No. 01-99, which according to DR sources "makes more efficient the registration process for pharmaceutical products in the Dominican Republic." March 7, 1999. Anti-piracy working group (COPAL) set up in Ministry of Industry and Commerce. March 17, 1999. Correspondence between Linda E Watt at American Embassy and US Secretary of State urges that US government agencies should "tell US firms to get more involved" in light of the fact that "we have little doubt that the persistence of EFID - and particularly Merck Sharp and Dohme, and Pfizer - has played an important role in winning some change in the situation with pharmaceutical patents." April 30, 1999. US Trade Representative, Charlene Barshefsky announces the results of the 1999 Special 301 Review, stating that the Dominican Republic will remain on the Priority Watch List in light of US Government concerns over increases in the rate of copyright piracy. 21, May, 1999. Correspondence from Paul Larsen at the American Embassy to US Secretary of State, "Merck Plans Suit Against Argentine Interests,' states that Merck, represented by Mary Fernandez from the firm Headrick Rizik Alvarez & Fernandez, is planning to take three companies, Laboratorios Rowe, Ethical Farmaceutical S.A, and Argentina's Roemmers, to court for violating the patent for the substance "Losartan." Losartan is the active ingredient in the product "Cozaar" a drug used to lower blood pressure. Dupont de Nemours & Co obtained its patent for Losartan in 1995 and Merck is the licensee in the DR. In the Comment for this document the Larsen advises, "this potential clash of multinational vs. multinational may serve as an excellent opportunity to force a change in the Dominican debate over pharmaceutical piracy in which the local pirate industry is successfully casting itself as the underdog fighting a valiant battle to protect the Dominican consumer against pitiless multinational (read US) pharmaceutical giants." June 19, 1999. Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) files a petition with USTR requesting "that the eligibility of the Dominican Republic as a GSP beneficiary developing country be reviewed, and that its GSP benefits be suspended or withdrawn, in whole or in part, if requisite improvements are not made by the Dominican Republic to remedy the deficiencies.which adversely affect U.S. copyright owners." Later, in March 6, 2000 PhRMA pledge their support for this position. July 23, 1999. Correspondence between Linda E Watt at American Embassy and US Secretary of State reports that, according to the attorney representing Merck, the owner of Ethical, the target of one of Merck suits, approached the local Merck representative "to suggest that they divide up the local market for the product "simvastatin" to force others out." September, 1999. Inter-agency Anti-Piracy Commission created. September, 1999. American Embassy invites Doris Long, Professor at the John Marshall School of law, to make an analysis of the proposed Dominican Republic legislation as compared to the TRIPS Agreement and present her findings to key Dominicans, due to US Government concerns that "many influential persons were stating publicly that the legislation was compliant without much basis in fact." (Correspondence between Linda E Watt at American Embassy and US Secretary of State, November, 1999, "GPRA Format Evaluation of FY-99 IPR specialist Doris Long.") According to the same source, the impact of Long's efforts was "a complete turnaround in the public discussion..(a)lmost all key players accepted that the proposed IPR legislation had WTO compliant problems." October 1, 1999. The Fernandez Government submits an industrial property law (patent and trademark) to the Congress of the Dominican Republic. October 12, 1999. The American Embassy writes a letter to the Dominican Republic Senate with suggestions for modifications for the Industrial Property legislation. November 4, 1999. Dominican Republic Senate approves the proposed Industrial Property Bill. November 19, 1999. Linda E Watt at American Embassy writes to US Secretary of State about discussions with DR Congressional leaders over the pending Intellectual Property Rights Legislation. She concludes, "perhaps only a WTO tribunal, or a serious threat by the US to withhold trade preferences, can send home the message that international commitments must be taken seriously." November, 1999. Foreign Trade Act Report for the Dominican Republic, published by the US Embassy estimates that the local pharmaceutical market is worth approximately $110 million per year, and that 70% of that is locally produced or packaged. The report states that a significant percentage of that total is believed to be pirated. It concludes that the "infringement of intellectual property rights is so widespread that quantifying its impact on US- Dominican trade is virtually impossible." December 6-8, 1999. EU Aid Memoire is published, listing the EU's principle concerns with the intellectual property legislation. This includes objections to the compulsory licenses aspect of Article 40.1, which according to the EU, "provides for the grant of compulsory licenses without justifiable cause, and automatically awards them 180 days after they are requested." It is their view that this provision "will cause the compulsory license to be unlimited and general, rather than a limited exception," and therefore goes beyond the TRIPS provision, under Articles 30 & 31, for "Limited Exceptions" to patent rights "through the concession of compulsory licenses for justified reasons and subject to specific conditions." December 10, 1999. Kadunc, from the American Embassy, writes to US Secretary of State informing her of a recent meeting at the Embassy with the official spokesmen of the parties represented in the Dominican Chamber of Deputies, attended also by Professor Doris Long. Reportedly, Long argued that "the draft legislation makes it too easy to obtain a compulsory license of a patented product," and the requirement that foreign litigants must post a bond in order to pursue a patent protection claim is a "violation of TRIPS' national treatment provision." January 1, 2000. Deadline for developing country WTO members to bring their intellectual property regimes into compliance with TRIPS. January 5, 2000. US Ambassador Charles T Manatt meets with Senate President Ramon Alburquerque and nine other Senators. According to correspondence between Manatt and US Secretary of State, January, 7, the Ambassador remarked that the US hopes to soon see Dominican Legislation that complies with international agreements such as TRIPS, and Alburquerque "responded in a somewhat defensive manner that is it the intent and `spirit' of the Congress to pass legislation that is fully TRIPS-compliant." January 28, 2000. The Legal Counsel to the President of Dominican Republic, issues administrative communication, number 0093, which authorizes the Department of Pharmaceutical Products of the Secretariat to grant to Dominican laboratories and importers the health registrations that would allow them to manufacture or distribute medicines containing patented substances. February 18, 2000. PhRMA makes their "Special 301" submission, which states in their opinion, the Dominican Republic is currently considering legislation, which, "if adopted, would stand as the worst patent law in the Western Hemisphere." They put forward their objections to the proposed bill: ---"Compulsory licensing: The grant of automatic licenses on the basis of the denial of a contractual license. 180 days after the contractual license is requested, the administrative authorities must grant a compulsory license (operates automatically). This automatic license is in addition to compulsory licenses, which would be granted in cases of lack of exploitation, abuse due to non-competitive practices, public interest and cases of dependent patents. ---The lack of Protection of Confidential Data and the Bolar provision in Article 30, which authorizes use of the patented invention by third parties for the purpose of obtaining health registration or approval for commercialization of a product, prior to the patent expiration date. ---The bill discriminates between foreigners and nationals by requiring foreigners to post a bond to access local courts. ---The bill does not include the possibility of patenting distinct uses of previously patented inventions, excludes combinations of existing materials, and excludes microorganisms and non-biological methods and processes connected with living material. Additionally, it does not protect plant varieties. ---International exhaustion of patent rights and parallel imports. Article 30 (d) of the bill authorizes the importation of products, provided the same have been placed in any market." February 23, 2000. The Chamber of Deputies of Dominican Republic returns from recess. PhRMA, in their comments in support of the accepted petition submitted by IIPA for review of the Dominican Republic's status as a beneficiary developing country under the GSP program (March, 9, 2000) claim that "the next 60 days are a critical period for resolution of the issue." February 27, 2000. Dominican Republic convenes `Blue Ribbon' Commission formed under the aegis of FINJUS and CONEP to work with private sector representatives to revise the controversial parts of `Market Order Code'. February 29, 2000. Ambassador Manatt pays a courtesy call on Dominican Minister of Industry and Trade, Luis Manuel Bonetti. Manatt reports that Bonetti points out that "his office always checks with US Patent and Trademark office before issuing a Dominican Patent, and (that) he operates on the assumption that US patents are valid." According the correspondence from American Embassy to US Secretary of State, March 2000, "Dominican Minister of Industry Seeks to Accommodate Divergent IPR Views," Bonetti "viewed himself as constrained in his ability to comply with his government's international commitments." It is the Ambassador's view that this was "most likely a result of Bonetti's close ties to domestic industry and his unwillingness to offend potential political supporters for the sake of complying with mere international obligations." March 7, 2000. Public hearings held by the Chamber of Deputies. March 7, 2000. Letter from Alfonso Paniagua, President of American Chamber of Commerce of the Dominican Republic to Dr. Rafaela Alburquerque, President of the Chamber of Deputies, regarding DR's proposed industrial property legislation. This states that "it is our view that a revision is necessary in the provision that authorizes compulsory licenses on the basis of the mere refusal of the rights holder to contract, even where no offense has been committed. Specifically, Article 40, number 1 of the bill establishes a type of license that, if approved as such, would not constitute limited exceptions to the patent rights granted." March 9, 2000. Shannon S. S. Herzfeld, on behalf of PhRMA, submits their comments to Mr. Jon Rosembaum, Chairman of the GSP Subcommittee of the Trade Policy Staff Committee, in support of the accepted petition submitted by IIPA for review of the Dominican Republic's status as a beneficiary developing country under the GSP program. They claim that they have received reports that health authorities in the Dominican Republic are accepting unauthorized and infringing marketing applications for patented pharmaceutical products. PhRMA also draws attention to the fact that neighboring countries are following closely the progress of issues in the DR. March 16, 2000. Shannon S. S. Herzfeld, on behalf of PhRMA submits their Pre-Hearing Statement and Request to Appear at the GSP public hearings for the Dominican Republic. PhRMA names Susan Kling Flinston (Assistant Vice President for Intellectual Property with PhRMA), Rodney Lopez (General Manager of Merck, DR), Juan Acevedo, (Vice President of Bristol Myers Squibb) in the List of Interested Parties Wishing to Testify. PhRMA suggest that "the TRIPS inconsistencies in the industrial property bill are not accidental" and argue "Argentina's 1996 patent law, and that country's unfettered ability to support pirate activities throughout the region has clearly influenced the drafters of the Dominican Republic's industrial property bill." March 16, 2000. Pre-Hearing Brief of The Government of the Dominican Republic is submitted before the GSP Subcommittee Office of the US Trade Representative, argues that "the Dominican Republic has painstakingly redrafted its copyright law to increase the levels of protections and to make the law compatible with TRIS and other international requirements". Specifically, the brief points out that "the Dominican Republic requested WIPO to supply technical assistance with the drafting of the new intellectual property rights legislation" and that "extensive assistance has been given by WIPO during the process thus far." The Dominican Republic acknowledges that it has received comments on the proposed patent legislation from the US government, and states that it "is working to address their few remaining specific concerns." The Dominican Government explains that it is "a democracy with three independent branches of government," so that there may be some delay in passing new patent law; "from time to time the democratic process takes longer than we would like." March 23, 2000. Correspondence between Ambassador Manatt and US Secretary of State reports on a recent "information meeting" that Manatt hosted for leading members of the DR Congress and representatives of eight other embassies, including French Ambassador Deniau and Japanese Ambassador Akazawa. Allegedly the members of Congress agreed to form a bilateral commission to study the draft patent legislation further, and to seek expert assistance from the WTO to try and obtain a TRIPS-compliant bill. One response that troubled the US Ambassador came from "two of the better- informed members of the group" who argued that "trips gives countries the rights to establish the economic, as well as the health and safety grounds, on which compulsory licenses may be granted." In their view, "the provision in the Dominican patent bill authorizing a compulsory license after 180 days if the patent holder does not grant a license on commercially reasonable terms is.a legitimate means for preventing monopolistic abuse by the patent holder." March 27, 2000. Dominican Republic becomes a full member of WIPO. Minister of Industry and Commerce, Louis Manuel Bonetti says, in a speech for the occasion, that the developing world is facing severe pressures to implement the TRIPS agreement for the exclusive benefit of producers of technological knowledge. He asks, "has it been forgotten that the benefit has to be reciprocal for producers and users of technological knowledge, in such way as to foster social and economic welfare and the balance of rights and obligations among the Member countries of that agreement?" April 19, 2000. Senate passes the Industrial Property Bill, it now awaits the President's signature. April, 2000. USTR continues to place Dominican Republic on "Priority Watch List." May 3, 2000. The Dominican Republic One Daily News reports that the Minister of Industry and Commerce Bonetti recently stated that the 301 listing of the US government is illegal in regards to international order because no country has the right to self-designate itself as the certifier of trade policies of all countries. He allegedly argued that this was a matter not for the GSP but for the arbitrage department of the WTO. May 8, 2000. Industrial Property Law (Law 20-00) is promulgated. May 12, 2000. Public Hearing on the Country Practices Review of the Dominican Republic, case no. 007-CP-99. Those present are, Jon Rosenbaum (Assistant U.S Trade Representative for Trade and Development), Robert Baker (Department of Treasury), Claude Burcky (USTR), Donna Dipaolo (USTR), Rachel Goslins (US Copyright Office), Katrin Kuhlman (USTR), Deborah Lashley (Department of Commerce), Maureen Pettis (Department of Labor), Diana Wanamaker (Department of Agriculture). Robert Johnson, from the firm Johnson, Rogers and Clifton, representing the government of the Dominican Republic, argues that although the Dominican Patent Law "may be unliked by the US patent industry" it is TRIPS compliant as "TRIPS Article 31 especially provides for compulsory licenses under certain circumstances." Additionally, Jon Rosenbaum states that because PhRMA had missed the 1999 deadline for the submission of a GSP petition, for "the GSP case to be expanded or (to) have a separate case on patents will require you all (PhRMA) to file independently next time we have a petition (period)." May 18, 2000. The results of the Presidential election, held on May 16, announces victory for the left-leaning Hipolito Mejia, of the Dominican Revolutionary Party. May 18, 2000. President Clinton signs the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA). May, 2000. Deputy Trade Representative, Ambassador Richard Fisher writes to Dominican Ambassador Roberto Saladin indicating that any dispute between the US Government and the DR Government concerning patent protection will be resolved in the World Trade Organization (WTO). July 5, 2000. USTR Federal Register Notice sets August 21, 2000, as the deadline for the receipt of petitions for the new 2000 Annual GSP Product and Country Eligibility Practices Review. June 19, 2000. USTR publishes Federal Register Notice inviting comments from the public on whether potential beneficiary countries met the new eligibility criteria added by CBTPA. July 17, 2000. PhRMA writes to Jon Rosenbaum (USTR) requesting an independent review of Dominican Republic's eligibility as beneficiary developing country under GSP, as in their view there has been "a substantial change in circumstances." They argue that "since filing PhRMA's recent Post-Hearing Brief under ongoing the GSP review process PhRMA has learned that President Fernandez had in fact signed the industrial property law on May 8, several days before the GSP hearing at which his representatives stated that the bill had not yet been signed and expressed interest in meeting PhRMA's concerns." August 11, 2000. Regulation (No. 408-00) for the new Industrial Property Law is promulgated. August 16, 2000. New Administration of President Hipolito Mejia Domingez takes office. August 21, 2000. President Mejia responds to a letter from US Ambassador Charles Manatt, promising to address the concerns of the US about perceived inconsistencies in the new Industrial Property Law. October 2, 2000. President Clinton designates the Dominican Republic as eligible for CBTPA benefits. According to Robert Johnson, Attorney for the DR, "since the protection of IPR is one of the eligibility criteria in the CBTPA, the US Government logically made a favorable normative determination as to the DR's IPR protection regime." November, 2000. Deputy USTR, Ambassador Richard Fischer visits President Mejia. A US delegation hold discussions with Dominican officials over IPR matters. Reportedly one of the major topics of discussion was what was patentable under the new law. During this meeting the US Government promised to furnish the Government of the Dominican Republic with a document which both details their concerns with the new Industrial Property Law and outlines approaches to solve the problems. January 10, 2001. USTR publishes a revision to August 21, 2000, GSP 2000 Country Practice Petitions, stating that PhRMA's GSP petition had been rejected (Case 014-CP-00), and that USTR would continue the copyright case (Case 013-CP-00) initiated by IIPA's 1999 petition. January 16, 2001. USTR issues Federal Register Notice requesting written comments concerning foreign countries' acts, policies, and practices with respect to their protection of intellectual property rights. February 15, 2001. Minister of Industry and Commerce writes to Ambassador Saladin, discussing a proposed decree that would establish a Commission to deal with intellectual property rights issues. February 16, 2001. Robert Johnson, of Johnson, Rogers & Clifton, representing the Dominican Republic, files a Progress Report on the Protection of IPR in the Dominican Republic. This brief concludes that "no other country in the region has made as much progress as (the Dominican Republic) in the past five years in upgrading its regime for the protection of intellectual property rights," and that "while some work needs to be done to address the few lingering problem areas, the GODR accordingly submits that the country should be removed from the lists maintained by USTR under Special Section 301. April 30, 2001. Robert B Zoellick, from USTR announces the results of 2001 Special Annual Review which places Dominican Republic on Priority Watch List. June 1, 2001. A new industrial property law is promulgated. June 13, 2001. PhRMA writes to Jon Rosenbaum at USTR submitting their petition for the review of the Dominican Republic's status as beneficiary developing country under GSP. PhRMA outlines their concerns with the industrial property law adopted in 2000 citing: ---"Overly Broad Exclusions from Patentability" ---"Overly Broad Authority for Compulsory Licensing" ---"Protectionist Local Working Requirement" ---"Data Protection" ---"Inadequate Patent Term" Furthermore, PhRMA finds that the most recent changes to the law "appear problematic as well." In light of this, "PhRMA members strongly support USTR's consideration.of initiating WTO consultations between the US Government and the Government of the Dominican Republic."