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Posts Tagged: "Congressman Doggett"

Price Controls and Compulsory Licensing Reduce Patient’s Healthcare Options

Once we go down a path of government price controls and compulsory licensing we will have foregone opportunities for other, more rational policy choices and will soon find ourselves in a race to the bottom. Of course, making prescription drugs more affordable must be an important, shared goal. But the solutions we pursue cannot risk choking off America’s innovative ecosystem that leads the world in discovering new cures and treatments. As Nobel laureate and NIH Director Harold Varmus said in 1995, one must first have a new drug to price before one can worry about how to price it.  Letting our federal government import foreign price controls and expropriate patents is not the way to go about it.

A Shot at Patents Misses the Mark and New Study Reinforces Need to Examine Federal Tech Transfer

Academic institutions and federal labs receive approximately the same amount of  R&D funding from the government, although universities have more money overall because of contributions from industry, states and other sources.  Still, the disparities in their licensing impact reinforces the implication from Sec. Ross that a top to bottom review of the federal lab tech transfer system is sorely needed.

Compulsory Licensing for Medicare Drugs– Another Bad Idea from Capitol Hill

Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) recently introduced the Medicare Negotiation and Competitive Licensing Act of 2018. Lest the title confuse you, by “competitive licensing” Rep. Doggett means compulsory licensing anytime a company declines to sell their drug for whatever price the Secretary of Health and Human Services  cares to offer during “Medicare negotiations” where the government holds all the cards. Past attempts to impose artificial “reasonable pricing” requirements on developers of government supported inventions did not result in cheaper drugs. A study titled Compulsory Licensing Often Did Not Produce Lower Prices For Antiretrovirals Compared to International Procurement found that resulting drug prices were often higher than they would have been under a more cooperative approach.

China extends drug patent exclusivity to 25 years

Among members of the news media, patents have been a popular whipping boy when contemplating why Americans pay higher drug prices relative to the rest of the world. Meanwhile, the Chinese national government extended the period of exclusivity on pharmaceutical patents from 20 years up to 25 years. While China makes moves to embrace further innovation in the pharmaceutical sector by extending exclusivity for drug developers, the United States has evidenced an incredible amount of skepticism regarding the activities of pharmaceutical patent owners trying to protect their property.

The Plight of the Public Sector Entrepreneur

Being an entrepreneur isn’t easy. While it is a tough road for anyone, it’s particularly tough if you’re in the public sector and threatened by politicians… Rather, the march in provision is intended to insure that good faith efforts are being made towards commercialization and that sufficient quantities of resulting products are available to meet public health or safety needs. If the government is ever pressured to misapply the law for price control, the bottom would fall out of our public technology transfer system. Such a change would not be restricted to drugs but to any product commercialized under Bayh-Dole. What company would commercialize a federally funded invention if an agency could retroactively apply a completely arbitrary standard of fair pricing to justify taking the technology away through compulsory licensing? The answer is easy to guess.

NIH Pressured to Misuse Bayh-Dole to Control Drug Prices

Secretary Burwell and Director Collins are facing formidable pressure to reinterpret the Bayh-Dole Act for the compulsory licensing of costly drugs arising from federally supported research. And the pressure just increased another notch. On March 28, Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Al Franken, Patrick Leahy, Sheldon Whitehouse and Amy Klobuchar joined the leaders of the House Democratic Task Force on Prescription Drug Pricing urging Burwell and Collins to hold a meeting “to allow the public to engage in a dialogue with the Department of Health and Human Services and NIH in order to better understand its position on the use of march-in rights to address excessive prices.” If NIH joins in pursuing the swamp gas illusion that Bayh-Dole was intended to regulate drug pricing, we’ll quickly learn that it’s a lot easier getting into this morass than getting back out.

Winning the Patent Policy Wars

We’re in the business of transforming early stage, publicly funded research into useful products. The odds against success are long as commercialization requires years of hard work, a lot of money and some luck. We’d like to think that this effort is universally appreciated. Many in this profession ignore the public policy debates swirling around, thinking that no one will believe our critics or that someone else will defeat them. That’s a serious mistake.

Bayh-Dole Under March-in Assault: Can It Hold Out?

The new year was hardly underway before Representative Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) and 50 of his House colleagues sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell and NIH Director Francis Collins urging them to “march in” under the Bayh-Dole Act to control prices for drugs developed under the law. While the high cost of drugs is a legitimate concern, attempts to address the problem through technology transfer statutes would only guarantee that we will have fewer new drugs, not that they will be cheaper. The march-in provision is intended for instances when a licensee is not making good faith efforts to bring an invention to market or when national emergencies require that more product is needed than a licensee is capable of making, not to fix drug prices.