THE REFILL: Latest Dosage of Rx Patent Abuse

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

  • While Big Pharma continues to spend millions of dollars to block efforts that would help address their rampant abuse of American’s patent system, bipartisan support for patent reforms is continuing to grow.
  • U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) has made clear ending Big Pharma’s rampant patent abuse is a critical component to addressing the nation’s drug pricing crisis. Cornyn, who has teamed up with Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) on an important patent reform bill, believes this legislation will make it harder for Big Pharma to over-extend their patents to prevent generic competition. By reforming patent law, Cornyn says his bill will “lower out of pocket costs with rising deductibles and copays.”
  • Senator Blumenthal has echoed that point as well and recently emphasized the role patent abuse plays in soaring drug prices. As the Hartford Courant reported, Blumenthal told advocates that “pharmaceutical drug companies in this country are putting profits over people because they can. They control markets, they have monopolistic power. They abuse patents and other government licenses to stop competition.”
  • Matthew Lane, executive director of the Coalition Against Patent Abuse: “As Big Pharma tries to protect their ability to abuse the patent system and gouge consumers with soaring drug prices, our Coalition is grateful for the bipartisan work of Senators Cornyn and Blumenthal. Their leadership is bringing us closer to ending Big Pharma’s patient and patent abuse.”
  • Jeffrey Francer, general counsel of the Association for Accessible Medicines: “Senators Cornyn and Blumenthal have correctly recognized that patent abuse is a significant cause of the soaring drug prices American consumers are facing. Their bipartisan bill puts the Senate in position to make serious progress towards reining in Big Pharma.” 

WHAT WE SAID:

CAPA Statement: CAPA Applauds House Committee On Oversight And Reform’s Bipartisan Support For Taking On Big Pharma

“As today’s hearing demonstrated, American patients are feeling the repercussions of Big Pharma’s greed with rising prescription drug costs without more affordable generic alternatives. This anti-generic gaming has real human costs. Big Pharma uses a myriad of underhanded tactics to manipulate the patent system and continue expanding their profits. This hearing is further evidence of the need to rein in Big Pharma’s rampant patent abuse. We thank Chairman Cummings and Ranking Member Jordan for holding today’s hearing and continuing to shed a light on Big Pharma’s abuse of the American patent system. Our coalition stands ready to work with the committee to find bipartisan solutions that put American patients first, promote innovation and end Big Pharma’s rampant patent abuse.” 

CAPA Statement: Niskanen Center Joins Coalition Against Patent Abuse

“The Niskanen Center is a welcome addition to our growing and diverse organization of members. We are equally committed to ensuring that all Americans have access to safe and affordable medicine,” said Matthew Lane, Executive Director of CAPA. “We look forward to working with them toward solutions that rein in Big Pharma’s patent abuse and lower prescription drug prices for patients.”

WHAT YOU SHOULD BE READING:

BIG PHARMA’S LATEST GAME OF PATENTS

Bloomberg Law: Tillis, Coons To Hold New Huddles On Patent Eligibility Proposal
Malathi Nayak

Sens. Thom Tillis and Chris Coons have summoned stakeholders to a fresh round of closed-door meetings on a revised proposal to rewrite patent eligibility law. Tillis (R-N.C.) and Coons (D-Del.) have scheduled two meetings, for Aug. 20 and 21, according to sources familiar with the effort. The draft proposal could undo several U.S. Supreme Court decisions on what inventions deserve patent protection. The rulings have left the law poorly defined, and made it harder for companies to win patents and raise venture capital, attorneys and some trade groups say. Participants will be given 30 minutes to review the new draft, but must leave the document and any notes behind at the end of the meeting, according to an invitation obtained by Bloomberg Law.

POLICY PROGRESS

CT Mirror: Blumenthal Provides Common-Sense Solution To Drug-Pricing Crisis
Matthew Lane, Executive Director of the Coalition Against Patent Abuse

This legislation would address some of the tricks the big drug companies use to exploit loopholes in the U.S. patent process and extend indefinite monopolies on their medications. By gaming the patent system to their advantage, these companies can drive out competition. This anticompetitive behavior keeps drug prices soaring, leaving millions of patients struggling to afford the medicine they need to live.

American Council on Science and Health: How Big Pharma Uses Logically Impossible Patents To Block Innovation
Alex Berezow

(Humira’s) Prices keep increasing and there is no competition. Why? Because AbbVie, its manufacturer, has about 250 patents on it. There is simply no reasonable explanation for how a single drug can have that many patents. According to the authors, when Humira was launched in 2002, AbbVie only had 27 patents on it. They filed another 220 after the product was for sale. Worse, the authors say that at least 20 patents were filed more than one year after launch of the drug which, according to law, would make the patents invalid. …”Many other biologics limit competition through both secrecy and expansive patent portfolios.” But these aren’t the only patent tricks that companies pull.

STAT News Op-Ed: Patent Reform Is Needed To Protect Patients’ Access To Lifesaving Drugs
Lyrissa Lidsky

It’s no secret that the cost of prescription drugs is too high for many Americans to afford. Across the country, patients are struggling to access medicines they desperately need. In fact, we are charged, on average, significantly more than residents of other high-income countries for the same prescription drugs. These high prices are due in no small part to the ability of pharmaceutical companies to protect sometimes decades-long monopolies on their products. It’s past time for patent reform. The painful reality that so many Americans experience was brought home to me this year by my own bout with breast cancer.

ABOUT COALITION AGAINST PATENT ABUSE (CAPA)

The Coalition Against Patent Abuse are healthcare providers, consumer groups, patient advocacy organizations, free market advocates, employers, and others fighting abuses of the patent system that can extend government-granted monopolies that illegitimately keep drug prices high for years, or even decades. Our members include the following groups and organizations: America’s Health Insurance Plans, Association for Accessible Medicines, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing, Citizen Outreach, Consumer Action, Innovation Defense Fund, Institute for Liberty, Kaiser Permanente, Knowledge Ecology International, Lincoln Network, R Street Institute, Society for Patient Centered Orthopedics, The Niskanen Center and U.S. Public Interest Research Group.