White House Looks to Curb Big Pharma’s Sky-High Drug Prices

In HealthDay News
by Healthday

If a drug is too expensive, the Biden administration will use federal law to grant patent licenses to rival pharma companies

By Physician’s Briefing Staff HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Dec. 7, 2023 (HealthDay News) — In a push for lower drug prices, the Biden administration is warning pharmaceutical companies that it might use its authority to cancel patent protections if a medication is too expensive. Federal law allows the government to grant patent licenses if taxpayer dollars were used in the development of inventions — including drugs.

In a statement released Thursday, the White House said it will consider granting patents to rival pharmaceutical companies if a drug becomes prohibitively expensive. It is the first time that federal officials have been allowed to consider a drug’s price in deciding to break patent protection.

“We’ll make it clear that when drug companies won’t sell taxpayer-funded drugs at reasonable prices, we will be prepared to allow other companies to provide those drugs for less,” White House National Economic Adviser Lael Brainard said during a call with reporters on Wednesday, CNBC reported.

This power over patents, called “march-in rights,” was established under the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980 but has never been exercised by any federal agency, administration officials told CNBC.

President Joe Biden promised that the move will lower drug prices for average Americans. “Today, we’re taking a very important step toward ending price gouging so you don’t have to pay more for the medicine you need,” Biden said in a brief YouTube video released Wednesday.

There will be a 60-day public comment period on the administration’s plan, which is certain to be challenged by drugmakers.

CNBC Article

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