INTA Meets with Chilean Authorities and Addresses Proposed Brand Restrictions

Published: April 1, 2019

INTA Latin America and the Caribbean Representative Officer José Luis Londoño, INTA Associate in the Caribbean Representative Office Agustina Davis, and Legislation and Regulation Committee Member Antonio Varas (Porzio Ríos García, Chile) met on March 21, 2019, with the President of the Health Commission of the Chilean Senate, Guido Girardi, to share the Association’s position regarding Article 128 and its impact on brand owners and consumers. Proposed amendments to Chile’s Sanitary Code, included as part of Bill 9914-11, contain changes to a rule that will limit the size of trademarks on pharmaceutical product packaging (through Article 128 bis).

INTA emphasized how limiting the use of trademarks in the pharmaceutical market may increase the likelihood of confusion among consumers, with health and safety implications. Also, INTA explained how excessive regulation on trademarks as they appear on pharmaceutical product packaging can create barriers to entry for foreign products into the country, discouraging foreign investment and competition.

The following day, Mr. Londoño, Ms. Davis, and Mr. Varas attended a meeting with the Head of the Legal Division of the Ministry of Health, Jorge Hübner Garreton, to once again share the Association’s concerns with regards to the brand restrictions presented in Bill 9914-11 as well as in some administrative interpretations of Law No. 20.606 (on nutritional composition of food and food advertising).

Law 20.606 entered into force in 2012 and was modified in 2015 by Law 20.869, regulating labeling and packaging of food advertised to children. This legislation resulted in administrative proceeding against several companies for the use of figurative marks on the packaging of products classified as high in sugar, calories, sodium, and/or carbohydrates. The authority considered those trademarks to be advertising and the authority ordered their removal from the packaging.

In the meeting with Mr. Hübner Garreton, INTA stressed the adverse effects of these administrative interpretations, and, among many others, explained how the prohibition of including figurative marks in the packaging of a product can increase the likelihood of confusion among consumers, both in terms of product choice and business origin. INTA also mentioned how these types of limitations may also complicate the work of customs and their ability to control of the flow of counterfeit products into the country and marketplace.

INTA voiced to both Mr. Girardi and Mr. Hübner the Association’s willingness and desire to assist in development of an adequate and balanced regulatory framework that considers elements of competitiveness and health as complementary, both for the Congress and the Ministry of Health.

INTA’s Latin America & the Caribbean Representative Office, based in Santiago, Chile, represents the Association’s 716 members across the region. Working in collaboration with staff at INTA’s headquarters in New York City, the Latin America & the Caribbean Representative Office leads the Association’s policy, membership, marketing, and communications initiatives throughout this region. To learn more about INTA’s activities in Latin America and the Caribbean, please contact INTA Chief Representative Officer of the Latin America & the Caribbean Office José Luis Londoño at [email protected].

Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of items in the INTA Bulletin, readers are urged to check independently on matters of specific concern or interest.

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