Garrett Johnson and Wayne T. Brough
The American patent system has, since our nation’s founding, served as a cornerstone of innovation. But the pharmaceutical industry’s willingness to undermine this system is having real consequences for American patients.
The skyrocketing cost of health care has been fueled by rapidly rising prescription drug prices, which are significantly higher for Americans than patients in other wealthy countries. While some argue that this is just the cost of being a global innovator, it is more complicated than that, and a key source of the problem is the abuse of the patent system.
Health care costs could be brought down through greater availability of generic drugs and biosimilars – drugs that are identical to branded drugs but distributed by another company after the original patent expires. Unfortunately, these lower-cost alternatives face an uphill battle to gain market access because pharmaceutical companies employ myriad tactics to prevent competition.