Excessive Patent ‘Gaming’ Contributes To High Drug Prices: Report

Excessive Patent ‘Gaming’ Contributes To High Drug Prices: Report

Key drugmakers, like Bayer and Bristol-Myers Squibb, are playing the U.S. patent system in a way that can keep drug prices at an “exorbitant” level, a report at NBC News says. Meanwhile, the Drug Enforcement Administration is said to be investigating telehealth startup Done.

NBC News:
‘Gaming’ Of U.S. Patent System Is Keeping Drug Prices Sky High, Report Says 

The excessive use of the patent system — by drugmakers Bristol-Myers Squibb, AbbVie, Regeneron and Bayer — keeps the prices of the medications at exorbitant levels, often at the expense of American consumers, according to the report from the Initiative for Medicines, Access & Knowledge, or I-MAK, a nonprofit organization that advocates drug patent reform. (Lovelace Jr., 9/15)

In other pharmaceutical industry news —

The Wall Street Journal:
DEA Investigating ADHD Telehealth Provider Done 

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents have questioned people about telehealth company Done Global Inc.’s practices for prescribing controlled substances, according to documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal and people familiar with the inquiries. The inquiries in recent weeks suggest ongoing and potentially widening interest from federal authorities in online mental-health companies such as Done that during the Covid-19 pandemic have been prescribing stimulants like Adderall for treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder—drugs the U.S. government classifies as controlled substances in the same category as OxyContin. (Winkler, 9/15)

The New York Times:
FDA’s Drug Industry Fees Fuel Concerns Over Influence 

Every five years, top officials of the Food and Drug Administration go behind closed doors to negotiate the terms of its core budget — about $3 billion this year. But the F.D.A. is not at the table with members of Congress or with White House officials. Instead, it’s in dozens of meetings with representatives of the giant pharmaceutical companies whose products the agency regulates. The negotiations are a piece of the “user fee” program in which drug, device and biotech companies make payments to the agency partly to seek product approvals. The fees have soared since the program’s inception three decades ago and now make up nearly half of the F.D.A.’s budget, financing 6,500 jobs at the agency. (Jewett, 9/15)

Swiss Authorities Raid Novartis Offices Seeking Info On Patents

The Swiss Competition Commission has begun an investigation into Novartis over the possible unlawful use of a patent to block competitors for some of its medicines, the latest instance in which European authorities have probed drug companies for antitrust infractions. (Silverman, 9/15)

Lawsuit Claims Pfizer Fellowship Program Is Biased Against Whites, Asian-Americans

A group of medical professionals that advocates against “radical, divisive, and discriminatory ideology” in healthcare sued Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) on Thursday, saying the drugmaker runs a fellowship that illegally excludes white and Asian-American applicants. In a complaint filed in Manhattan federal court, the plaintiff Do No Harm called Pfizer’s Breakthrough Fellowship Program “discriminatory on its face” because only Blacks, Latinos and Native Americans can apply. (Stempel, 9/15)

Also —

Lupus Patients Go Into Remission Borrowing CAR-T Cancer Therapy

Rheumatology — the study of immune-system-driven diseases of the bones, joints, muscles, and in-betweens — has inherited plenty of hand-me-downs from cancer research. (Cueto, 9/15)

ADHD Drug Adderall Runs Low At CVS, Walgreens As Demand Soars

Bloomberg spoke to half a dozen patients in states including California, Indiana and Michigan who said that they called or went into CVS Health Corp. or Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. pharmacies in August or September and were told the medicines were out of stock. In some cases, patients were told they might have to wait more than a week to get their medication, which is supposed to be taken every day. (Swetlitz, 9/15)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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