New Report Demonstrates Big Pharma’s Abuses of the Patent System

Aug 2, 2018

CSRxP spokesman Will Holley released the following statement on the release of I-MAK’s report, “Overpatented, Overpriced: How Excessive Pharmaceutical Patenting is Extending Monopolies and Driving up Drug Prices.”

Today’s report from I-MAK is an in-depth look at one of the key drivers of out-of-control drug prices: the abuse of patent laws that artificially extend monopoly pricing power far beyond what the law intends.  It is no coincidence that the best-selling drug on the planet, AbbVie’s Humira, is also the drug with the most patent applications with 247.  As a result of these anticompetitive abuses, the price of Humira has doubled in the last six years and there is still no competition in sight.

“This report demonstrates that Humira is no outlier; it is just the most egregious example of the monopoly rents extracted by brand-name companies though patent abuse.  Incredibly, four out of the top 12 best-selling drugs in the United States have been on the market for more than 20 years and still do not have competition from lower-cost generics or biosimliars.  As the report notes, these tactics ‘allow drugmakers to a) increase the price of the branded drugs by an average of 68% in six years, and b) seek to stall generic competition by an average of 38 years.’

“Beyond the extraordinary facts revealed in this report, it demonstrates beyond the shadow of a doubt that there is much more work to be done to resolve this crisis.  The problem is the price, and until policymakers address the tactics that enable brand-name manufacturers to raise those prices without fear of competition, they will continue to spiral out of control.

“As President Trump said in his remarks unveiling the Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices, ‘our patent system will reward innovation, but it will not be used as a shield to protect unfair monopolies.’  That is a laudable goal that we fully support, but it is a goal that cannot be achieved without action from both the Administration and Congress.  We will continue our work with policymakers in both branches to address these and other abuses by brand-name drug manufacturers that keep prices artificially high and cost patients, job creators, and taxpayers billions each year.”