[Ip-health] Survey: US Health Agency Should Use Patent Rights To Keep Drugs Affordable

Biotech. Info. Inst. biotech at biopharma.com
Mon Sep 2 12:22:07 PDT 2013


Any feeling for what comparable U.S. general public views are or would be if asked:  "Concerning pharmaceutical product-related patents licensed from NIH:
1) Should licensees' in affluent foreign countries be required to charge more for finished products to support [subsidize] discounted prices in the U.S.?  Charge more in foreign affluent countries to subsidize prices In poor/developing countries?  [Presuming "seven out of eight members of the public think the NIH should protect them from paying more than everyone else," does this "everyone else" include developing countries?] 
2) Should poor/developing country prices be the same, less or more than in the U.S.?  Be the same, less or more than in affluent foreign countries?  [Should foreign countries' finished product prices be based on some measure of their affluence?]

Otherwise, does KEI really want to set a precedent for a U.S. government agency dictating higher pharmaceutical prices in foreign countries?  It seems most recent IP activist activity has been directed to just the opposite, giving foreign (and, particularly, developing) countries more autonomy in how they regulate and price pharmaceuticals, with lower consumer prices the goal.  And is U.S. gov't-imposed higher prices in foreign countries even legal or feasible, e.g., in light of diverse international trade agreements?  

Ronald A. Rader
President 
Biotechnology Information Institute
1700 Rockville Pike, Suite 400
Rockville, MD 20852
Phone:  301-424-0255
E-mail:  biotech at biopharma.com
Web sites:  www.biopharma.com; www.bioinfo.com


On Aug 29, 2013, at 4:18 PM, Claire Cassedy <claire.cassedy at keionline.org> wrote:

> http://www.ip-watch.org/2013/08/29/survey-us-health-agency-should-use-patent-rights-to-keep-drugs-affordable/
> 
> Survey: US Health Agency Should Use Patent Rights To Keep Drugs Affordable
> 
> 
> By William New, Intellectual Property Watch
> 
> A new survey supports the argument of public health advocates that
> pharmaceuticals resulting from government-funded research in the United
> States should be no more expensive than in other similar countries, and
> that patent rights should be used to make it so.
> 
> According to the survey, most people asked think the US National Institutes
> of Health (NIH) should use its patent rights over pharmaceuticals from
> research it funded to ensure that residents do not pay more than other
> high-income countries for the drugs.
> 
> The survey questions were developed and paid for by nongovernmental
> organisation Knowledge Ecology International (KEI), but the survey was
> independently conducted by the SurveyMonkey service, which carried out the
> random selection of interviewees, data collection and analysis, according
> to KEI.
> 
> In the survey of 170 randomly selected US residents, 7 out of 8 took this
> view that NIH-funded research should not be priced higher than in similar
> countries. The survey results and information are available here.
> 
> The survey was conducted from 26-28 August, and consisted of two questions
> regarding NIH-funded drug development. According to the KEI website, the
> questions were:
> 
> “Question 1.
> 
> Respondents were provided with data regarding the US National Institutes of
> Health (NIH) overall budget as well as the amount budgeted for HIV/AIDS
> research. The background information also gave the percentages of US
> patents that benefited from US taxpayer funding of research that contained
> the terms ‘cancer’ and ‘HIV’ in the patent claims (19% and 23%
> respectively) from 2010 to 2011. The first question was:
> 
> Were you previously aware of the extent of US government funding of medical
> research, including research that leads to patented inventions?
> 
> Results: Yes, 38 percent. No, 62 percent.
> 
> Question 2.
> 
> On the topic of US drug prices as compared to other high-income countries,
> respondents were provided with data regarding a policy the NIH has been
> asked to adopt. The policy in question asks the NIH to grant new
> non-discriminatory licenses to generic drug manufacturers to use the
> patents on NIH funded drug discoveries when drugs are more expensive in the
> US than in other high-income countries. It then presents the perspective of
> drug companies, who argue that patent owners/drug companies should be free
> to charge US residents higher prices, regardless of the financing of the
> drug’s research and development. The question asked was as follows:
> 
> The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), a government agency, has
> rights to the patents for dozens of drugs that were developed with federal
> funds. Should the NIH require patent holders to charge no more to residents
> of the United States than the prices in Canada, Europe and other
> high-income countries, for the same drug?
> 
> Results: Yes, 71.7 percent. No, 9.6 percent. Not sure 18.7 percent.”
> 
> The KEI website said that KEI and others filed a petition in October 2012
> requesting NIH “grant Bayh-Dole Act march-in rights for the patents held by
> Abbott Laboratories relevant to the manufacture and sale of ritonavir, a
> federally funded invention that is much more expensive in the United States
> than in Canada, Europe or other high-income countries. The NIH has yet to
> grant a hearing on the petition.”
> 
> The petition also asked for a more general rule that would provide a
> march-in remedy for any drug when US prices were higher than prices for the
> same product in other high income countries. The new survey supports that
> argument.
> 
> “If seven out of eight members of the public think the NIH should protect
> them from paying more than everyone else, maybe government officials and
> elected members of Congress should do something,” KEI President James Love
> said. “The NIH has yet to grant a hearing on this issue. The petition was
> filed October 2012. It’s almost a year, and the NIH is stalling.”
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