THE REFILL: Latest Dosage of Rx Patent Abuse


  • The Richmond Times Dispatch recently published an op-ed by Matthew Lane, executive director of the Coalition Against Patent Abuse praising the bipartisan efforts of Representatives Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) and Tom Reed (R-NY) to rein in Big Pharma’s patent abuse.
    • “Spanberger and Reed’s bill would require drugmakers to disclose the patents that protect their biologic medications, allowing for a higher degree of transparency‚ the Biologic Patent Transparency Act is an example of rare bipartisan cooperation in Congress and a first step toward addressing the high cost of prescription drug prices for American patients. Lawmakers intent on solving the problem of rising prescription drug prices in America should look to the example being set by Spanberger and Reed, and they must consider patent reform as an essential component of any legislative proposal.”
  • The Wall Street Journal recently published an eye-opening, must-read report highlighting the harmful impact Big Pharma’s patent abuse is having on the ability of American patients to access more affordable generic drug alternatives.
    • “Record numbers of generic drugs for cancer, heart ailments and other conditions have received U.S. approval in recent years, raising hopes that the new competition would reduce high drug costs. But many of the lower-price medicines haven’t hit the market, a Wall Street Journal review found.  The result: Many patients are forced to take high-price medicines, and a widely touted remedy for reining in drug costs has failed to live up to its promise…..The biggest factors, many of the generic-drug experts say, are the legal defenses mounted by brand-name drugmakers. They have sought to keep generics away by adding patents to products, while suing generic drugmakers for allegedly infringing the patents.”
  • CAPA released a statement commending the House Judiciary Committee for voting, on a bipartisan basis, to advance the Affordable Prescriptions for Patients Through Promoting Competition Act of 2019, which was introduced by Representatives Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Doug Collins (R-GA), David Cicilline (D-RI) and Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI).
    • “CAPA is pleased to see growing bipartisan support for addressing anticompetitive abuses of America’s patent system by Big Pharma.  Across the country, Americans are paying the price for Big Pharma’s greed.  With skyrocketing prescription drug costs and rising premiums, Americans need Congress to stand up on their behalf and pass legislation that makes meaningful reforms that reduce the cost of prescription drugs.”


San Francisco Chronicle: A Tiny Pill Saved My Life, But At $180,000 A Year
Representative Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA)

  • Despite increasing public scrutiny and an escalating national crisis of prescription-drug affordability, Johnson & Johnson continues to hike the prices of its top-selling drugs. Johnson & Johnson even recently tried to triple the price of Imbruvica — only backing down after a massive public backlash.  This price-gouging behavior is business as normal for Big Pharma.  In just the first seven months of this year, the pharmaceutical industry has hiked the price on more than 3,400 prescription drugs — all while raking in record profits.

BioPharma Dive: Will Sky-High Drug Prices Spur The US To Use An Obscure Power Over Patents?
Jonathan Gardner

  • With the major Democratic 2020 candidates campaigning on lowering drug prices, march-in rights are now back in focus as a tool to achieve that goal. Biopharmas are setting too-high prices for drugs discovered with taxpayer support, the argument goes, which ought to spur the government to take possession of their patents to lower costs. The Trump administration also has shown some interest in pharma patents. The calls are only growing thanks to “patent thickets,” the expansive intellectual property estates that drugmakers use to shield drugs from generic competition well beyond the date of first patent expiration. For example, Abbvie holds more than 100 patents for its $20-billion-a-year injection Humira, which has allowed it to stretch its monopoly out to 2023.

Office of House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler: Chairman Nadler Statement For The Markup Of H.R. 3991, The Affordable Prescriptions For Patients Through Improvements To Patent Litigation Act Of 2019
Office Staff

  • ‘Patent thicketing’ is when a manufacturer prolongs its exclusive rights to market a drug by filing numerous patent claims to fend off biosimilars attempting to enter the market.  “For example, years after a brand-name biologic’s release, the manufacturer may file claims to the subject biologic that do not incorporate significant changes or claims to a method of manufacturing that the manufacturer does not itself use.  These claims tie up biosimilars in litigation and keep them off the market. “H.R. 3991 takes an important step toward addressing these tactics and ultimately, lowering drug prices for this particularly costly class of drugs.  The legislation limits the number of patents that the brand-name manufacturer can assert in litigation, which forces the manufacturer to focus on its key patents and streamline the litigation process.

Ripon Advance: Collins Cosponsors Bipartisan Bill In House To Fight Drug Product Hopping
Advance Staff

  • U.S. Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) this week unveiled a bipartisan bill in the U.S. House of Representatives to help tackle product hopping, a monopolistic practice used by drug companies to unfairly control more of the nation’s pharmaceutical market. “Innovation and competition in the pharmaceutical market are key to lowering prescription drug costs,” said Rep. Collins, ranking member of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee. “Anticompetitive tactics like product hopping are hurting American families, who are struggling to pay for expensive pharmaceuticals.” Rep. Collins on Nov. 18 signed on as an original cosponsor of the Affordable Prescriptions for Patients Through Promoting Competition Act of 2019, H.R. 5133, with bill sponsor U.S. Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), which would amend the Federal Trade Commission Act to prohibit anticompetitive behavior by drug product manufacturers, according to the bill’s text.