A Virtual Look into the Generic Pharmaceutical World: My Placement at Teva Canada Limited (IP Intensive Reflection)

During my ten-week internship at Teva Canada Limited (“Teva”) for Osgoode’s Intellectual Property Law and Technology Intensive Program (the “Intensive”), I saw how intellectual property law operates through the eyes of a global leader in the pharmaceutical industry. In learning about the generic pharmaceutical industry, I was able to apply the lessons from my IP classes to my work. Through my projects, I gained meaningful experience and knowledge regarding the process of obtaining the rights to market a generic drug.

For one long-term project, I was able to engage with the Patented Medicines (Notice of Compliance) Regulations, which provide generic companies with a way to market their products before a patent relating to the drug, which is owned by brand-name manufacturers, expires. Initiating the process requires drafting a Notice of Allegation (NOA), which must include a description of various aspects of the drug such as its medicinal ingredient, dosage form, and strength. In the NOA, one can assert that the generic product does not infringe upon the relevant patent. Arguments can also be made in the alternative (i.e. in the case a product does infringe upon a patent). My project involved an analysis of the latter; specifically, I was tasked with drafting arguments contesting the validity of certain patents. I reviewed the applicable Canadian patents for a specific product, found prior art anticipating aspects of the patents, and developed potential arguments that could be used in an NOA to question the validity of the patents. It became clear to me that coming up with compelling arguments regarding the validity of a pharmaceutical patent requires understanding the complexities of the specific molecules and their chemical interactions. Generally, having a deep-seated understanding of the scientific terms and related phenomena is an asset. Thankfully, I had the help of my supervisors at Teva, who were able to guide me through any questions I had. In working through this project, I recognized the importance of teamwork and mentorship, and I appreciated the intricate process of ensuring that affordable versions of brand-name medications are made available to the public. I also saw how the pharmaceutical ecosystem is dynamic and symbiotic—brand-name and generic manufacturers must work together with the ultimate goal of providing safe, effective drugs to the people who need it the most.

Along with this challenging and rewarding project, I assisted the team with legal drafting, as well as updating the market research group on the state of ongoing litigation involving Teva and other generic pharmaceutical companies. Through such tasks, I observed how working with an in-house legal team is highly collaborative as it functions within a large company interdependent on multiple other departments.

As a law student, the ability to get any hands-on legal experience is highly beneficial. While classes certainly provide students with the discipline and background to become an effective lawyer, placements such as those provided by the Intensive allow students to gain the practical skills necessary to become a working professional.

I would like to thank my supervisors and teachers, including Ben Gray, David Solomon, and Kane Denike for taking the time to educate me about the industry and guide me through my tasks. I am also thankful to Professor D’Agostino and Professor Vaver for ensuring that the program ran smoothly and for making my placement possible. Above all, I am grateful for the time and care taken to support and enrich my law school experience during such an unprecedented time. Despite all the uncertainty surrounding the school year, it was great to be a part of a program that kept things operating as “normal” as possible.

Written by Esther Kim, JD Candidate 2021, enrolled in Professors D’Agostino and Vaver 2020/2021 IP & Technology Law Intensive Program at Osgoode Hall Law School. As part of the course requirements, students were asked to write a reflective blog on their internship experience.

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