Monday, August 03, 2015

Forbes says weakening the patent system will hurt older Americans

A post at Forbes titled Attacks On The Patent System Are Going To Make Older Americans Worse Off includes text:

As people live longer, we must make their lives better. Few would deny patents to Genetch, Eli Lilly, Biogen and others as they develop drugs that deal with Alzheimer’s and dementia, look for cures for diabetes, and create titanium hips and better pacemakers. But there is an appetite for more.

The well-known pharma company is called "Genentech." See for example the discussion of the Cabilly patents and on IPBiz:

The nominal motivation for drug challengers to proprietary patent holders is to make money while making drugs available at lower cost, which might seem to all Americans (including seniors) better off. That is for example Kyle Bass's story as to his challenge to Biogen's MS drug Tecfidera. Whether the overall impact of such challenges might be adverse to research investment might be contemplated.

A separate matter is the role of insurance companies as a choke-point in drug delivery to Americans. LBE's own experience was that the health insurance provider simply would not cover a proprietary drug, even though its advantages were well-documented. Legitimate challenges to patents could open up this choke-point.

Forbes noted:

There must be financial incentives and protections for those who create ways to help the aging population. It can cost a billion dollars and a decade in time to develop, test, and bring innovative drugs to market. Since production costs are minimal, there is pressure to sell them at low prices and release generic versions. Without patent protection, however, these drugs might never see the light of day.

One suspects that it is the testing of the drug, rather than the development, that accounts for a majority of the cost.

An interesting example is the story of colchicine, for gout. The drug itself was known for a long time, and employed by Ben Franklin. But no one had tested it scientifically.

See the IPBiz post
Colchicine patent wars?

**On a separate note (obliquely related to the Kyle Bass challenge to Tecfidera based on its prior pharma use NOT related to MS), Professor Rochelle Dreyfuss has discussed an alternative:

Dreyfuss gave the example of suggestions that countries limit the scope of patents to the use disclosed in the patent applications and that they bar patents on new uses of known products.

Such provisions would put many discoveries into the public domain. However “this combination removes any patent incentives to find new uses for products that are already available.” Given that emerging countries especially likely to make this kind of incremental innovation (for example, to tailor a product to local needs), she opined that implementing the two suggestions simultaneously may not be in their best interest.


**On a different note, observe the discussion of the Angiomax case in the post

including the text:

In July 2015, the Federal Circuit effectively eviscerated the revenue prospects for a successful pharmaceutical company when the court found the two patents covering the popular blood clotting treatment Angiomax(R) invalid.Angiomax, which had U.S. sales of $599.5 million for The Medicines Company in 2014, is the brand name of a drug called “bivalirudin” that is used to treat blood clots in people with severe chest pain or who are undergoing angioplasty to open blocked arteries. While the company has other drugs in the market, Angiomax is the lead product for the company, accounting for 80% of the company’s sales in 2013. Angiomax has been a blockbuster drug for the company and, prior to this month’s court decision, the company was expected to hold patent exclusivity for several more years. The Federal Circuit decision opened the way for generic equivalents to enter the market almost immediately after the decision, and it can be expected that The Medicines Company’s revenues from Angiomax will decline precipitously in the near future.

See also the post on IPBiz
Cross-appeal by Hospira clobbers The Medicines Company on bivalirudin/Angiomax ®


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