CSRxP: STRONGER Patents Act Could Further Enable Big Pharma’s Patent Abuse

Jul 10, 2019

Proposed Bill Would Undermine Fair and Efficient Review Process

Washington, D.C. – The Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing (CSRxP) issued a statement today on the introduction of The Support Technology & Research for Our Nation’s Growth and Economic Resilience (STRONGER) Patents Act of 2019.

Inter partes reviews (IPR) were established by Congress through the America Invents Act to ensure a fair and efficient process for reviewing the merit of patents,” said CSRxP executive director Lauren Aronson. “IPRs are a critical tool for challenging the abusive patent practices employed by Big Pharma to extend their monopolies on life-saving drugs — monopolies that enable their price-gouging.”

“We have serious concerns the STRONGER Act would undermine IPRs, making it harder and more burdensome to challenge Big Pharma’s abuse of the patent system and preventing more generics and biosimilars from coming to market,” Aronson continued. “At a time when one in four Americans struggle to afford their medications, Congress must remain focused on boosting competition and holding Big Pharma accountable. Lawmakers can’t risk further enabling the industry’s anti-competitive behavior.”

Big Pharma has opposed the IPR process specifically because it can allow generic manufacturers to challenge flawed patents and bring competition to the market sooner.

  • In 2017, Novartis lost a challenge to a generic manufacturer over multiple sclerosis drug Gilenya. The Big Pharma giant is still fighting the decision in order to prevent competition from entering the market. (John Miller, “Novartis Wins Gilenya Reprieve As Judge Blocks Generics, For Now,” Reuters, 6/25/19)
  • In 2018, Johnson and Johnson lost a challenge to a generic manufacturer over prostate cancer drug Zytiga. (Eric Sagonowsky, J&J’s Blockbuster Zytiga Falls to Patent Challenge, Boosting Threat Of 2018 Generics,”FiercePharma, 1/18/18)
  • In 2019, Allergan tried to use a backhanded scheme to end-run the IPR process and maintain its monopoly on eye drug Restasis by selling its patent to a Native American tribe in exchange for the exclusive right to continue manufacturing and marketing the drug. (Robert Pear, “Indian Tribe Joins Big Pharma at the Supreme Court, Defending a Lucrative Deal,” New York Times, 1/26/19)