Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Post at Politico on Alex Azar highlights possible line of questioning of HHS nominee

The post at Politico begins

The drugmaker [Lilly, employer of Azar] believed the erectile dysfunction drug [Cialis] might
help a rare and deadly muscle-wasting disease that afflicts boys. The drug didn’t work
— but under a law that promotes pediatric research,
Lilly was able to extend the Cialis patent anyway for six months —
and that’s worth a lot when a medication brings in over $2 billion a year.

Critics say the brand-name drugmakers are “gaming” the patent system,
finding all sorts of ways to protect monopolies and delay competition from generics.
And Alex Azar — the former president of Eli Lilly's U.S. operations, now poised
to become the top U.S. health official — professes to oppose such tactics.

See How Trump’s HHS nominee’s drug company ‘gamed’ a patent

Pediatric extensions, which allow for testing of known drugs on young patients, are commonplace. Politico did state

The pediatric exclusivity law — the one that eventually encouraged Lilly to give kids a sex drug
— was enacted about 20 years ago with the best of intentions. Drugs don’t work the same in children
as they do in adults, and companies needed incentives to do costly studies. In addition,
the law encouraged drugmakers to do more research on rare disorders.

Lilly tested Cialis on Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Its competitor Pfizer tested Viagra
in children with a lung disorder. Neither found a cure — Viagra was more likely
to harm children than to help them — but both boosted their bottom line.


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