ICYMI: I-MAK: Cracking Down on Big Pharma’s Patent Abuse to Lower Drug Prices Should Be Bipartisan Priority

Jan 27, 2023

Non-Profit Advocates for Affordable Prescription Drug Prices Call on Congress to Increase Competition and Hold Big Pharma Accountable

In case you missed it, Tahir Amin and Priti Krishtel, co-executive directors of the Initiative for Medicines, Access & Knowledge (I-MAK), published an op-ed in The Hill calling on Congress to lower prescription drug prices by holding Big Pharma accountable for the industry’s egregious abuse of the patent system.

“Today, many drugmakers are less focused on researching and developing new drugs than protecting their monopolies on old ones — to such an extent, in fact, that pharmaceutical companies file for an average of more than 140 patents on top-selling drugs,” the authors wrote. “Many companies delay or block more affordable competitors from entering the market for far longer than the 20-year protection allowed by law.”

To hold Big Pharma accountable and lower prescription drug prices, the authors outline solutions in three areas: 1) Congress must stop Big Pharma from gaming the patent system to extend monopolies; 2) lawmakers must expand public participation in the patent system; and 3) Congress must ensure a return on investment for public funding of pharmaceutical research and development.

The authors also note “patent-system reforms will bolster waning creativity — the product of exponential increases in the rate at which the USPTO issues patents. Simply put, these and other reforms might encourage drugmakers to value the quality of new intellectual property more than the quantity of protections they can secure.”

“Surely, to earn special privileges in the marketplace, companies should be required to do more than merely change a tablet into a capsule, branding it as ‘innovation,’” the authors continue.

Finally, the authors highlight the growing consensus among the American public, in both parties, for Congress to step in and close the loopholes Big Pharma is continually exploiting to keep prescription drug prices high.

“The good news is, Americans of every political persuasion recognize that our system is crashing into its limits – nearly six in 10 Republicans and seven in 10 Democrats,” support public policy solutions to lower drug prices. “And eight in 10 people in both parties believe drug prices are driven largely by pharmaceutical company profits.”

“Lawmakers, too, agree across the aisle that patent abuse is aggravating the crisis,” the authors wrote. “Patent system reform is not a partisan issue; it’s an American issue. The new Congress has an opportunity to address it, once and for all.”

Read the full op-ed from Tahir Amin and Priti Krishtel in The Hill HERE.

Read more on why Big Pharma’s innovation claims don’t hold up to scrutiny HERE.

Read more on the overwhelmingly bipartisan support for solutions to stop Big Pharma’s patent abuse HERE.

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