CAPA Joins Leading Organizations in Support of Patent Reform, Calls on Congress to Pass Legislation to Lower Drug Costs

More Than a Dozen Organizations Signed on to a Letter Calling on Congress to Pass the “Restoring the America Invents Act” to Reduce Big Pharma’s Manipulation of the Patent System

WASHINGTON D.C. – The Coalition Against Patent Abuse (CAPA) along with fourteen organizations from across the political spectrum sent a letter to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) outlining their support for the bipartisan “Restoring the America Invents Act.”

This legislation would reform the U.S. patent system and strengthen tools used by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, such as the inter partes review (IPR) process, to weed out low-quality patents that prevent competition from low-cost alternatives in the marketplace.  It will restore the intentions of the “America Invents Act” by creating a faster and lower cost path to challenge patents that are preventing competition on vital medications.  The bill will also increase transparency of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (PTAB) patent review process while ensuring it is free from political influence. 

The Coalition Against Patent Abuse Executive Director Matthew Lane stated, “The Restoring the America Invents Act (RAIA) is a practical solution to reducing patent abuse that denies access to safe, lower-cost medicines for millions of patients.  It has been ten years since the America Invents Act (AIA) was passed and major pharmaceutical companies continue to find ways to abuse the patent system. These anti-generic and biosimilar tactics have saddled high drug costs on the backs of taxpayers and the American healthcare system.  It is time for Congress to advance legislation like RAIA to fix these problems.  I’m glad to see Senator Leahy, one of the drafters of the AIA, working across party lines to fix these issues so that true innovation will be sustainable for generations to come.” 

Key takeaways from the letter include:

  • “Generic and biosimilar medications are essential to increase the competition… Competition saved consumers $338 billion in 2020 alone. Generics represent 90% of prescriptions filled, yet account for only 18.1% of drug spending. Unfortunately, anticompetitive abuses of the patent system are preventing some of this competition – especially in the biosimilars industry.”
  • “Challenging patents in court is extremely expensive and time consuming. Litigation costs for challenging drug patents range from $900,000 to $5,000,000, depending on the amount of money at risk, and take years to conclude. IPRs are significantly less expensive, costing an average of $400,000 through appeal, and are required by statute to take only 18 months to reach a final decision.”
  • “… drug companies are increasingly turning to follow-on patents, applied for after the drug is on the market, to block competition. For example, a House Oversight investigation found that AbbVie was pursuing these later filed patents as part of a strategy to thwart generic and biosimilar entry after predicting biosimilar entry for Humira starting in 2017. Competition still hasn’t occurred, although biosimilars are expected in 2023.”

To read the full letter, click here.