Big Pharma Is Price Gouging Patients While Shifting The Blame For High Rx Prices

Let’s set the record straight: Big Pharma has a long history of pointing a finger at others in the supply chain as part of a bogus blame game while price gouging American patients through anti-competitive tactics used to game the system.

These tactics, like patent thicketing and product-hopping, are designed to block competition from more affordable alternatives, like generics and biosimilars, and maintain monopolies over their biggest money-makers.

Patients Are Paying The Price

The American Economic Liberties Project and the Initiative for Medicines, Access & Knowledge (I-MAK) recently released an analysis examining the staggering cost of Big Pharma’s patent abuse on the U.S. health care system and American patients. The analysis found that Big Pharma’s anti-competitive patent abuse tactics cost U.S. consumers “an additional $40.07 billion on pharmaceuticals,” in just one year, 2019.

Another report released from Matrix Global Advisors and commissioned by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs, “Patent Thickets and Lost Drug Savings,” examines the cost of Big Pharma’s use of ‘patent thickets’ on patients and the U.S. healthcare system.

The report quantifies the one-year cost of lost savings on five brand name drugs around which Big Pharma has built especially egregious patent thickets: AbbVie’s autoimmune drug Humira and oncology drug Imbruvica, Regeneron’s ophthalmology drug Eylea, Amgen’s autoimmune drug Enbrel and Bristol Myers Squibb’s oncology drug Opdivo.

The report assesses what the savings would be for these five drugs if “a steady state of competition [existed] where generics and biosimilars have achieved price discounts and uptake currently observed in the market.” Based on these calculations, the one-year cost of delayed competition from patent thickets on these five drugs would range from $1.8 billion to $7.6 billion.

The one-year cost of each of these brand name drugs on the U.S. health care system due to their patent thickets is:

  • $7.6 billion for Humira
  • $3.1 billion for Imbruvica
  • $2.5 billion for Eylea
  • $1.9 billion for Enbrel
  • $1.8 billion for Opdivo

Meanwhile, Voters Support Market-Based Solutions to Crack Down on Big Pharma’s Patent Abuse

A recent survey conducted by Morning Consult found that overwhelming majorities of American voters support market-based solutions to stop Big Pharma from continually exploiting loopholes and abusing the U.S. patent system.

85 percent of voters say it is important that Congress prevent pharmaceutical companies from abusing the patent system to extend monopolies and keep prices high by blocking competition, including more than half of voters who say this is “very important.” This includes massive majorities of voters across party lines, with 86 percent of Democrats, 81 percent of Republicans and 75 percent of independents agreeing that stopping Big Pharma’s patent abuse is important.

69 percent of voters support Congress passing legislation to stop the practice of “patent thicketing,” the process where companies build a dense web of many overlapping patents surrounding one drug, which extends periods of exclusivity on that drug and makes it difficult for other companies to produce more affordable alternatives.

70 percent of voters also support Congress passing legislation to stop the practice called “product-hopping” or “evergreening,” in which a drug company pursues strategies to reformulate a product and extend patent exclusivity.



Read more about why Big Pharma’s bogus rhetoric on innovation doesn’t add up HERE.

Learn more about the cost of Big Pharma’s patent abuse HERE.

Read more on how Big Pharma is on track to set record-high launch prices on new brand name drugs this year HERE.

Read more about how Big Pharma sidestepped the industry’s own price hikes and egregious practices in the latest bid to evade accountability HERE.

Read about PhRMA’s recent ad campaign that aims to dodge accountability HERE.

Read more about a recent study that found drug companies hiked prices faster than inflation on 23 of the top 25 most popular Medicare Part D drugs HERE.

Learn more about why voters see through Big Pharma’s blame game and want lawmakers to focus on holding Big Pharma accountable HERE.

Learn more about the Congressional Oversight Committee’s 2021 report exposing Big Pharma’s egregious pricing and anti-competitive behavior, and debunking their innovation rhetoric HERE.

Learn more about market-based solutions to hold Big Pharma accountable and lower prescription drug prices HERE.