Posts Tagged: "Department of Health and Human Services"

Conservatives Urge HHS to Deny Turning Bayh-Dole March-In Provision into Price Controls

Thirty-one signatories from 29 center-right public policy organizations have written U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, urging him to deny a petition from Knowledge Ecology International that requests use of march-in rights under the Bayh-Dole Act against the prostate cancer medicine, Xtandi. The conservative organizations represented on the letter include some of the most prominent center-right groups, such as the American Conservative Union, Americans for Prosperity, Americans for Tax Reform, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Eagle Forum Education & Legal Defense Fund, FreedomWorks Foundation and Heritage Action for America. Conservatives for Property Rights led the letter initiative.

A Swing (and a Miss) at NIH Tech Transfer

How many people or organizations could undergo an exhaustive investigation into everything they’ve done over the past 30 years and emerge unscathed? That’s what just happened to the technology transfer operations at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), with the spotlight primarily focused on the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Of course, an exercise like this has to find something, so the report that resulted from this exercise is titled “NIH Should Publicly Report More Information about the Licensing of Its Intellectual Property”. After extensive digging, all it uncovered are some pretty small potatoes.

As Lighthizer Negotiates on USMCA, Former HHS Secretary Warns Against Buying Into ‘Myths’

On September 13, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer reportedly expressed a willingness to negotiate on several points of contention regarding the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), including potentially reducing the 10-year period of intellectual property protection for biologic medicines. In response to this, the Pass USMCA Coalition is touting a memo penned by Former Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tommy Thompson aimed at “debunking the widespread myth that the USMCA will drive up drug prices.” Thompson, also a four-term governor of Wisconsin, now advises the Pass USMCA Coalition. Thompson’s memo focuses on three key arguments that he considers myths

Accelerating Generic Entry: A Proven Solution to the Problem of Prescription Drug Pricing

High prescription drug prices and their impact on costs borne by the government in Medicaid, Medicare Part D and other federal programs, is a front burner topic in Washington. The President has committed to reducing the price of prescription drugs, and pressured drug companies to hold the line. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has proposed two regulatory initiatives—price disclosure in drug advertising and foreclosing rebates from manufacturers to pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs)—aimed at pushing prices down. Some Democrats have urged more sweeping actions, such as having the government negotiate Medicare drug pricing as a single buyer or regulating drug prices by reference to an international index based on government-negotiated drug prices abroad. These proposals cannot solve the drug pricing problem. The Administration’s proposals merely tweak the status quo and put no effective restraint on new drug prices. Jawboning by the Executive has had a minimal impact. Disclosure of manufacturers’ list prices, unless accompanied by numerous and inherently confusing caveats highlighting the difference between those prices and the co-pay an insured consumer must bear at retail, is potentially misleading and, in any event, has no direct impact on prices. Eliminating rebates, as HHS’s rulemaking acknowledged, will inevitably raise health insurance costs now partly paid for by rebates while manufacturers’ pricing power remains unabated. The Democrats’ call for government power buying or price regulation would impact drug prices but also require politically sensitive government determinations about the “worth” of prescription drugs to patients—a significant step on the road to government-allocated health care. 

Pity the Patients if Exclusive Licensing is Undermined

We’ve learned from experience that just because a theory’s off base doesn’t mean it won’t take root, particularly when it involves patents and medicine. “No Vaccines Before the Next Zika Outbreak?: A Case for IP Preparedness”  by Professor Ana Santos Rutshman, a faculty fellow in Health Law and Intellectual Property at DePaul University, Co-Director of the Global Healthcare Innovation Alliances at Duke University, and consultant to the World Health Organization, previews  her upcoming UCLA law review article. It could be titled “Developing Treatments Without Patents: Let’s Give it a Try.” The article blames exclusive licensing for the lack of a Zika vaccine citing the failed deal between the Department of the Army and Sanofi. The remedy: banning exclusive licensing for federally supported inventions related to specific diseases while imposing price controls on other life science discoveries. Before this bandwagon rolls, let’s look at the quality of its construction.