Not a Generic Law School Experience: My Internship at Teva Canada Limited

If I had to distill my experience at Teva Canada Limited (“Teva”) down to a single word, it would be “exposure”. Throughout my 10-week internship for Osgoode’s Intellectual Property (IP) Law and Technology Intensive Program, I got an inside look at the business and legal complexities of a multinational, leading pharmaceutical company with generic, innovative and operational arms. Pharmaceutical law weaves together IP, health and corporate/commercial law (with threads of privacy and competition law throughout), resulting in a dynamic, multidisciplinary and collaborative practice. As a Legal Intern at Teva, I had the opportunity to learn about and experience each of these areas of law in an in-house setting, which made for a highly rewarding and educational semester.

Throughout my internship, I honed my legal drafting and research skills, attended meetings across departments and functions, and attended court, cross-examinations and meetings with external counsel. In addition to new substantive law, these experiences taught me practical legal skills and how to apply what I had learned in my previous law school courses. I came out of the internship with a new professional skillset and feeling more prepared and excited to begin my career as a lawyer following graduation.

One of my favourite experiences was the unique opportunity to “see how the medicine is made” by touring each of Teva’s three manufacturing, packing and distribution facilities. Donning the personal protective equipment, seeing the enormous machines and watching the coming and going of hundreds of personnel demonstrated the massive scientific, operational and logistical task of bringing a drug to our pharmacies. Although these tours weren’t typical legal work (no blackline was required!), they provided me with a better appreciation for the legal risk and regulatory considerations that pervade almost all activities of the business. Given the role of in-house counsel in facilitating business activities, I learned that having a thorough understanding of and appreciation for every aspect of the business is essential.

As a former science-nerd turned law student, spending my days discussing some of the same molecules and medicines I conducted laboratory research on in the past kept me engaged, and Teva’s focus on patient care kept me inspired. One of the most interesting aspect of the internship was understanding how IP is at the root of the generic pharmaceutical business, despite generic manufacturers typically not having any patent rights in the molecules they bring to market. The entire business is based on understanding what IP rights exist in a given molecule, how strong those rights are, and when/how those rights can be circumvented to bring more affordable and effective drugs to patients. My experience at Teva gave me a better appreciation for the equally important roles innovative and generic drug manufacturers play in ensuring patient have access to treatments. As a society, we all want safe and effective drugs at a fair price; Teva is helping make that happen.

I am incredibly grateful to my supervisors at Teva, Ben Gray (General Counsel) and David Solomon (Senior Legal Counsel), for their mentorship and for creating such a supportive and varied educational experience – I feel lucky to have learned from them both! Thank you to Professor D’Agostino, Professor Vaver, and the entire IP Osgoode team for making this program possible.

If you are a student interested in IP and/or technology law and looking for a unique, challenging and rewarding way to spend your second-last semester of law school, I highly recommend applying to Osgoode’s IP Law and Technology Intensive Program in January. Just in case the rest of this post hasn’t convinced you, did I mention there are no exams?

Written by Madison Black, Osgoode JD Candidate, enrolled in Professors D’Agostino and Vaver 2019/2020 IP & Technology Law Intensive Program at Osgoode Hall Law School. As part of the program requirements, students were asked to write a reflective blog on their internship experience.

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