2 responses to “Do Current Drug Patent Laws Meet the ‘Preference for the Poor’ Standard?

  1. Very good arricle. I cant see why allowing drug companies to pay generic producers to not produce a drug is not an illegal restraint of trade!!!
    Bill OConnor FCRH 1951

  2. This is a thorny issue. There are some additional factors not mentioned.

    Pharmaceutical companies (that’s ‘ethical’ pharmaceuticals, by the way) can often extend patents by coming out with variants on the expiring medication, many times by marketing a new extended release version when the patent for an immediate release original is lapsing. These extended release varieties typically have fewer side effects and may be slightly more efficacious as well. Patients confined to generics of older drugs may be getting similar care, but not similar comfort.

    Companies do sometimes have patient assistance programs to subsidize those for whom the latest – most expensive – treatment seems warranted due to inefficacy or intolerable side effects of other medications for the same condition.

    There is enormous expense in developing new drugs and achieving FDA approval. Big Pharma’s argument about this is not entirely specious. The cost of successful drugs must also cover the cost of the many more that never make it to clinical trials. This is not a charitable business.

    In this country, the way health care in general is managed is full of perverse incentives. As long as health care coverage, many hospitals and pharmaceutical development are for-profit industries, costs will continue to rise, leaving more and more patients behind.

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