Canada Denies Patent For Drug, So US Pharma Company Demands $100 Million As Compensation For 'Expropriation'
An increasingly problematic aspect of free trade agreements (FTAs) is the inclusion of investor-state provisions that essentially allow companies -- typically huge multinationals -- to challenge the policies of signatory governments directly. The initial impulse behind these was to offer some protection against the arbitrary expropriation of foreign investments by less-than-democratic governments. But now corporations have realised that they can use the investor-state dispute mechanism to challenge all kinds of legitimate but inconvenient decisions in any signatory nation. Here's a good example of how this provision is being invoked to contest a refusal by Canadian courts to grant a patent on a drug, as explained on the Public Citizen site: