THE REFILL: Latest Dosage of Rx Patent Abuse

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • Recently, I-MAK released a new report that outlines how AbbVie abuses the U.S. patent system to stave off competition for their critical cancer drug, Imbruvica.  This analysis was also covered by STAT News which showed AbbVie could have its patents on Imbruvica extended through 2036, forcing consumers to spend an additional $41 billion for the cancer treatment drug.  This move would prevent cheaper generic alternatives from entering the market for almost another 10 more years.  In the past, AbbVie has also used its patents to thwart competition for Humira, a rheumatoid arthritis medication.
    • “U.S. drug prices are nearly four times higher than average prices compared to similar countries in large part because Big Pharma has been abusing and gaming the patent system for far too long.  Efforts like this to extend a decades-long monopoly on specific drugs, while blocking or stalling generic competition, have substantially increased the cost of prescription medication for millions of Americans.  This is an eye-opening new report from I-MAK that we hope the media and policymakers in Washington will read carefully,” stated Matthew Lane, Executive Director of the Coalition Against Patent Abuse.
  • In case you missed it, Politico recently highlighted the significant drug pricing hikes made by big pharmaceutical companies as millions of patients struggle to access affordable drugs amidst the coronavirus pandemic.  This year alone, big Pharma companies conducted hundreds of new price increases on patients which would appear to confirm the fears of many Americans.  A recent West Health/Gallup poll found that nearly 9 in 10 Americans are concerned that the pharmaceutical industry will leverage the coronavirus pandemic to raise drug prices. 

WHAT YOU SHOULD BE READING:

The Hill: Opinion: Pharma Pricing Is A Problem, But Antitrust Isn’t The (Only) Solution
Christine Wilson & David Hyman

  • The urgent task of developing a COVID-19 vaccine has reignited a perennial Washington debate: how to ensure access to affordable medicines without compromising incentives for innovation. Most agree we should handsomely reward a vaccine’s inventor — but a high-priced vaccine will be useless for those who cannot afford it. As we address the ills of soaring drug prices, one prescription should be ignored. Rather than focusing on the drivers of escalating prices, some policymakers argue for abandoning settled principles of antitrust law in a misguided attempt to “fix” something — effective, evidence-based antitrust enforcement — that is not broken.

Bloomberg: California’s Generic Drug Competition Law Gets Second Court Test
Valerie Bauman 

  • A California law that punishes drugmakers who pay to keep generic competitors off the market faces its second court test after that state fought off a challenge at the district court level. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Thursday will hear oral argument in a case brought by the Association for Accessible Medicines to block the law, which it says unlawfully regulates interstate commerce. The group is appealing a lower court ruling that rejected its bid to stop the law from taking effect in January. For California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, at stake is whether the state has the authority to impose a law that limits corporate behavior beyond its borders. Generic drugmakers argue that a ruling to uphold the law would have a chilling effect on potential deals to resolve patent litigation and get generic products on the market faster.

Law360: Patent Cases To Watch In The Second Half Of 2020
No Author

  • A wave of U.S. Supreme Court petition denials has made 2020 a bit of a letdown for patent attorneys, but there are several high-profile cases on the horizon that could decide the fate of Patent Trial and Appeal Board judges and biosimilars law, and offer more clarity on licensing standard essential patents. While the high court dashed hopes that it would provide guidance on patent eligibility, the retroactive application of America Invents Act reviews and the PTAB overruling trial courts, there are still significant questions that the justices and other courts may be ready to tackle.

JD Supra: The Supreme Court, Federal Circuit, And PTAB Dance To Boloro Over The Constitutionality Of Administrative Patent Judges
Brenton Babcock & Tyler Train

  • In a string of appeals from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”), the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has called into question the constitutional legitimacy of numerous inter partes and – as of this week – ex parte proceedings from the PTAB’s administrative patent judges (“APJs”). It is now up to the Supreme Court to take the stage, should it so choose, and decide whether those APJs were constitutionally appointed such that their decisions should stand. Should the Supreme Court grant certiorari, its ultimate decision could give many patent owners1 who lost at the PTAB the chance to have their ex parte and inter partes cases reheard.

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