[Ip-health] The Soaring Cost of a Simple Breath

kris alman kris.alman at gmail.com
Sun Oct 13 08:54:48 PDT 2013

The graphic for this article illustrates how "free" trade might impact the
cost of drugs.

Albuterol was reformulated and re-patented ~5 years ago. While not
clinically practicing at that time, I was aware of this because my mother
was on the drug for her lung cancer (from which she died 3 years ago). The
drug zoomed in cost so her doctor gave her a stash of samples. For any
patient this is a problem. For those on Medicare Part D, the donut hole

If you read the five-year view on p.156, you can understand how they will
re-tweak this drug to renew the patent.

The article closes, "The transition to albuterol HFA MDIs has had the the
unusual effect of dislodging generic albuterol CFC MDI products from the
market. Almost certainly, when HFA patents expire, generic albuterol HFA
MDIs will be developed."

Unusual effect? More accurately, the *expected* effect. Thanks to the way
that PhRMA have manipulated our market through the FDA, Medicare Part D,

PhRMA opposes "protectionist" efforts by countries that oppose their
concept of intellectual property, which works so well in the U.S. PhRMA
wants to export these "bads" (as opposed to goods) through the back doors
of international trade agreements.

*Kris Alman*

On Thu, Oct 10, 2013 at 12:00 PM, <ip-health-request at lists.keionline.org>wrote:

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> Today's Topics:
>    1. MSF welcomes Brazil Parliamentary Committee recommendation to
>       reform patent law (Joanna Keenan-Siciliano)
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: Joanna Keenan-Siciliano <joanna.l.keenan at gmail.com>
> To: ip-health at lists.keionline.org
> Cc:
> Date: Thu, 10 Oct 2013 09:16:42 +0200
> Subject: [Ip-health] MSF welcomes Brazil Parliamentary Committee
> recommendation to reform patent law
> MSF welcomes Brazil Parliamentary Committee recommendation to reform patent
> law
> http://www.msfaccess.org/about-us/media-room/press-releases/msf-welcomes-brazil-parliamentary-committee-recommendation-reform
> *Parliamentary committee recommends Brazil acts to improve access to
> medicines and medical innovation*
> *Brasilia/Rio de Janeiro, 9 October 2013* — Brazil has joined a growing
> list of middle-income countries taking action in tackling the high cost of
> medicines, with the launch today of a parliamentary committee report that
> recommends reforming Brazil’s patent law and introducing new models of
> innovation. International medical humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans
> Frontières (MSF) welcomed the high-level report, ‘Brazil’s Patent Reform:
> innovation towards national competitiveness’, saying it should spur the
> Brazilian Parliament to support legislation that would reform Brazil’s
> patent law to improve access to affordable medicines.
> “Brazil has historically shown leadership in promoting and defending access
> to affordable medicines, and with newer medicines becoming increasingly
> unaffordable, this is even more important today,” said Susana de Deus,
> Executive Director of MSF Brazil.  “The patent law reform process in Brazil
> can be seen as part of an international momentum where middle-income
> countries are facing unaffordable prices for medicines and increasingly
> taking measures to overcome the patents that price drugs out of reach.”
> In April, India’s Supreme Court upheld an important public-health provision
> reaffirming the country’s right to establish its own criteria to analyse
> patents. Last month in South Africa, a public consultation process opened
> on the government’s draft plan to improve and reform the patent law there,
> which currently sees the country paying the highest prices in the region
> because of abusive patenting practices. MSF welcomes and encourages such
> efforts from countries, in a bid to lower the cost of medicines.
> Affordable, quality generic medicines are a critical component of treatment
> programs. About 80% of the HIV medicines that MSF uses are generics, and
> MSF routinely relies on generic drugs to treat TB, malaria, and a wide
> range of infectious diseases. The first generation of HIV drugs have come
> down in price by 99 percent over the last decade, from U.S.$10,000 per
> person per year in 2000 to roughly $120 today, thanks to generic production
> in India, Brazil and Thailand, where these drugs were not patented.
> Today, newer drugs are being patented in these countries, which pose new
> challenges to the cost of treatment. For example, darunavir/ritonavir –
> just two drugs needed in a four-drug cocktail for salvage treatment – is
> priced at $4,752 per person per year in Brazil, while the price of the
> standard first-line regimen costs $647. Given the growing number of people
> in need of newer drugs, governments will need to explore strategies to
> ensure sustainability of national programs. Public health-oriented patent
> laws can ensure improved competition and price reductions, which can have
> benefits globally upon prices and access, including for service providers
> like MSF.
> The report, released today by the Centre for Strategic Studies and Debates
> (CEDES) at the Brazilian House of Representatives, gives strong support for
> reforming the patent law in order to implement a range of public health
> safeguards, in line with international trade rules, which allow countries
> to enable generic competition and bring down drug prices. The reforms
> include stricter rules for what deserves a patent, allowing a more robust
> patent opposition system to curb frivolous patenting practices by drug
> companies, and taking proactive steps to protect access to medicines,
> including the right to issue government-use compulsory licences to import
> or produce generic versions of patented medicines. These suggested reforms
> have already been implemented in India, which has limited abuse of the
> patent system by pharmaceutical companies, thereby dramatically reducing
> medicine prices for people across the developing world.
> “This report reaffirms Brazil’s right to implement public health safeguards
> in its national laws” said Susana de Deus. “If the reforms proposed by
> Brazilian legislators are approved and implemented, it can encourage other
> countries to take action against the rising cost of medicines and consider
> reforming their patent laws.”
> The report also recommends Brazil considers new and alternative models of
> medical innovation. Today’s research and development (R&D) system is
> overwhelmingly dependent on patent monopolies to stimulate and finance
> innovation.  This has two critical flaws: new medicines, protected by
> patents, are unaffordable; and the essential health needs of patients go
> unaddressed when potential commercial rewards are insufficient. By
> ‘delinking’ the cost of research from the final price of a product, new
> incentive models, such as prizes, can promote both innovation and
> affordable access to medicines, ensuring that new drugs and medical tools
> for unmet health needs are developed without the high price tags attached.
> “The shortcomings with today’s patent system are evident, and Brazil is
> uniquely placed to play a role in changing the situation,” said Felipe
> Carvalho, MSF Access Campaign Adviser in Brazil. “Brazil could use its
> diplomatic clout to weigh in on ongoing intergovernmental processes at the
> World Health Organization that are currently exploring alternative models
> of innovation, and  harness  its technical expertise to develop, support or
> finance R&D projects that could meet critical unmet health needs for
> patients in Brazil and around the world.  This is the vision we are looking
> for from the Brazilian government.”
> - ends -
> Joanna Keenan
> Press Officer
> Médecins Sans Frontières - Access Campaign
> P: +41 22 849 87 45
> M: +41 79 203 13 02
> E: joanna.keenan[at]geneva.msf.org
> T: twitter.com/joanna_keenan
> msfaccess.org
> twitter.com/MSF_access
> facebook.com/MSFaccess
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