CAPA Applauds Effort By House Oversight Committee To Examine Big Pharma Drug Pricing Practices

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Coalition Against Patent Abuse (CAPA), a diverse coalition of healthcare providers, consumer groups, patient advocacy organizations, free-market advocates and others, applauded a decision today by the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Oversight and Reform to subpoena AbbVie, the drug company that makes Humira, as part of its probe into pricing practices by the big drug companies. 

“CAPA applauds today’s announcement by the House Committee on Oversight to require AbbVie to produce documents concerning its pricing practices for expensive medicines like Humira.  That AbbVie has refused to be forthcoming with Congress about its pricing practices should speak volumes,” stated Matthew Lane, executive director of the Coalition Against Patent Abuse. 

Big Pharma routinely makes use of underhanded tactics like patent thickets to extend their drug monopolies and prevent American patients from accessing more affordable generic drug and treatment alternatives.  As the Committee noted in a memo announcing today’s decision:

  • In 2019, AbbVie’s United States net revenues from Humira were nearly $14.9 billion. That same year, AbbVie’s worldwide net revenues from Humira were nearly $19.2 billion.  The Initiative for Medicine, Access, and Knowledge (IMAK) found that AbbVie has filed 247 patent applications on Humira with the intention of delaying competition for 39 years. According to I-MAK, 89% of these patent applications were filed after Humira was brought to market. The company has raised the price of Humira on 18 occasions between January 1, 2009, and January 14, 2019.8

“With millions of Americans struggling with high drug prices it’s more important than ever for Congress to address the root causes of this problem which includes systemic abuses of U.S. patent laws.  Our nation’s drug policies and patent system must balance competition and innovation to reward new breakthroughs in medical treatments while ensuring that patients have access to affordable medications,” Lane concluded.

Lane recently authored an op-ed in Morning Consult around the need to tackle high drug costs as major pharmaceutical companies moved forward this year with their Summer price hikes as millions of patients suffered financial due to COVID-19.  Read more here.