NIH Won't Let Others Supply Life Saving Drug Even Though Genzyme Can't Make Enough
from the patents-costing-lives dept
At the time, we doubted the petition would be approved -- and indeed, the NIH has rejected the petition. An opening was left for an appeal, if another petition is filed by a company that wants to make Fabrazyme, rather than the patients (you know, the folks actually suffering). As the statement of Robert Weissman from Public Citizen makes clear, this is a ridiculous situation:
Why is NIH resorting to legal gymnastics to avoid exercising its legal authority to ensure an adequate supply of an important medicine? NIH agrees Genzyme is failing to produce an adequate supply of the important medicine Fabrazyme. It is plain that removing the patent monopoly on the drug is a necessary condition to enabling other potential manufacturers to enter the market. Yet NIH chooses to deny a request to issue open licenses for the Fabrazyme patents -- a request for which it has undisputed legal authority -- on the Alice-in-Wonderland, self-justifying grounds that there are as yet no competing suppliers. Of course there are no competing suppliers -- why would any firm try to enter a market it believed closed by a patent monopoly?