Biologic Drugs Likely To Get Separate 12-Year Monopoly Protection Beyond Patents

from the and-for-that,-we-all-suffer dept

A few weeks ago, we noted that some biotech firms were pushing hard to get a separate monopoly on biologic drugs, that went beyond patent protection, as if that wasn't enough. While we had some thoughtful comments from some industry insiders, claiming that the issue could be more about liability. If that's the case, then deal with the liability question, not the monopoly protections. Either way, Robert McClelland alerts us to the unfortunate news that our elected officials have caved in to what the big pharma companies wanted and agreed to a new plan that would give a twelve-year monopoly on these sorts of "biosimilars." It's still not clear why this is needed at all, other than to wipe out competition and make drugs much more expensive. The two congressional reps who pushed this through were Representatives Anna Eshoo and Joe Barton. This is no surprise from Barton, but Eshoo, who represents part of Silicon Valley should know better than to be increasing monopoly protections.

Oh wait... a quick look over at shows that (take a guess...) the single largest contributor to Eshoo's election campaigns has been (yup) pharmaceutical companies. Oh, and they've already been the largest contributors to her 2010 re-election campaign. And people wonder why Larry Lessig's Change Congress movement is getting attention. Even if she's being totally sincere in her position, how else can you look on this without saying it smacks of corruption with bought-and-paid-for legislation that gives pharma companies an extra monopoly to gain significant monopoly rents at the expense of the public?

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  1. identicon
    CrushU, 4 Aug 2009 @ 3:16pm


    Ok, let's assume for a minute I buy the claims that we need a monopoly for these drugs so that people will actually research and develop them... (I'm not convinced, but it's irrelevant to my point)

    So, they need to have a patent/protection to keep someone else from selling their drug. I can easily believe that given the acceptance of the first argument.

    What I fail to be convinced on, is why it needs to be Twelve Years. Any drug that is twelve years old and still selling won't lose its market anyway. (Viagra isn't likely to lose its market to competitors, simply because of brand name recognition.) I would think that five years should be enough. (Though the previously-AARP-mentioned seven years would be alright, too.) If you can't manage to get market after five years, you won't ever. And I do mean after the drug is approved and ready to go, then you have that five-year period of no copies.

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