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Arrington Leads Bipartisan Letter Urging U.S. Patent Office to Address Drug Pricing Through Competition

Arrington Leads Bipartisan Letter Urging U.S. Patent Office to Address Drug Pricing Through Competition

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last week, Representative Jodey Arrington (TX-19) joined Reps. Lloyd Doggett (TX-37), Darrell Issa (CA-48), Michael Burgess (TX-26), and Ann Kuster (NH-02) in sending a letter to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office asking Director Kathi Vidal to consider a policy that supports earlier entry of generic and biosimilar competition into the prescription drug market, which would result in lower drug prices and increased market competition. This policy, if adopted, would rebalance the patent system to promote a competitive market while ensuring that branded pharmaceutical manufacturers can continue to invest in innovative treatments and cures.

“America leads in health care innovation but lags behind in overall cost effectiveness. We need real competition and price transparency to maximize value for taxpayers and patients,” said Rep. Arrington. “I’m proud to lead this bipartisan effort to reform our patent system and increase competition so seniors and families have better access to affordable treatments.”

“Too often, Big Pharma’s masterful innovation is in creating new, manipulative ways to maintain monopoly power and charge monopoly prices,” said Rep. Doggett. “One creative tactic to block good ol’ fashioned American competition from generics is by creating a thicket of patents with multiple patent applications for the same idea. To ensure patients are not priced out of access and to encourage a healthy free market, the Patent Office should ensure generic competitors are not forced to challenge these duplicate patents. When one patent is deemed meritless, the associated duplicates should fall as well. This modest reform would help ensure timely generic entry to drive down prices for patients and achieve huge savings for taxpayers.”

“The greatness of America’s one-of-a-kind patent system is to be found in its protection of our greatest innovations and promotion of free minds and free markets,” said Rep. Issa. “But that system must also represent a commitment to fundamental fairness, and when that is threatened or thwarted, the USPTO owes a course correction to every true patent holder and future inventor with an inspiration to advance our collective knowledge. It’s time for reform.”

"We need to prioritize access to affordable medications for Americans. By promoting competition and price transparency in the prescription drug market, we can achieve this goal and ensure that patients can access life-saving treatments without breaking the bank,” said Rep. Burgess. “I'm grateful to join Rep. Arrington in this bipartisan effort to reform our patent system and put patients first."

“We should be incentivizing competition among drug manufacturers to promote innovation, not rewarding business practices that stifle progress and keep prices high,” said Rep. Kuster. “Patent thicketing hurts our economy and hinders the development of new medications – I am proud to join with these Members to stop this practice and lower costs for American families.”