[Ip-health] New Report - Overpatented Overpriced: Imbruvica's Patent Wall

Tahir Amin tahir at i-mak.org
Wed Jul 15 07:17:30 PDT 2020

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I hope you are all keeping well.

I am pleased to announce the release of our newest “Overpatented,
Overpriced” investigation into AbbVie's patent wall for its cancer drug,
Imbruvica (ibrutinib). A copy of the report and supporting materials can be
found here: i-mak.org/imbruvica

Our analysis reveals AbbVie’s “drip feed” patenting strategy currently
gives it a 29 year monopoly on Imbruvica. We estimate that for the
additional 9 years of patent protection AbbVie has gained, payers will
spend at least *$41 billion* on branded Imbruvica.

We kindly ask for your support by retweeting our announcement tweet
@IMAKglobal: https://twitter.com/IMAKglobal/status/1283401040856002568?s=20

Help us advance the need for meaningful reform of the patent system in
order to prevent the overpatenting practices that are hurting patients and

Thank you,


*Strategy to Overpatent Popular Cancer Drug Will Drive High Costs*

*Imbruvica Spending Poised to Exceed $41 Billion From 2027-2036 Due to
Patenting Strategies to Extend Monopoly *

Drugmaker AbbVie relies on a “drip feed” patenting strategy to extend its
monopoly on cancer drug Imbruvica and keep the medication’s prices high,
according to a new analysis from the Initiative for Medicines Access &
Knowledge (I-MAK).

Imbruvica is used to treat a variety of cancers, including leukemia and
lymphoma. The current non-discounted price of the drug is $174,156
annually. By 2024, Imbruvica is poised to become the fourth highest
grossing drug in the United States, with annual revenues of nearly $9

To understand the patent strategy used to protect the drug’s monopoly,
I-MAK identified and analyzed all patents related to Imbruvica to determine
which types of patents were filed, when they were filed, and how they
impacted the duration of the drug’s patent protections beyond the initial
20-year patent term.

The researchers found:

   - Imbruvica has 165 patent applications; 88 patents have been granted,
   extending the drug’s patent exclusivity from 20 to at least 29 years.
   - Spending on branded Imbruvica during the nine years of extended
   exclusivity from 2027 to 2036 is estimated to reach at least $41 billion.
   - More than half (55%) of Imbruvica’s patent applications were filed
   after its initial FDA approval in 2013.
   - The majority (58%) of patent applications for Imbruvica cover the
   different indications and formulations of the drug, not the active
   substance itself.

The analysis shows Imbruvica’s “drip feed” patenting strategy, in which the
initial patent applications cast a wide net of scientific knowledge and
protection and then subsequent patents with more specificity are sought in
phases, the researchers say. The potential to keep stacking additional
patents is limitless under the current patent system, allowing
pharmaceutical companies to substantially extend a drug’s monopoly.

The dangers of this type of patent strategy become clear during a public
health crisis like COVID-19. Drug makers haven’t invested in preparing for
pandemic diseases because their business models are focused on maximizing
profits from existing drugs.

“This analysis raises important questions for policymakers who are seeking
solutions to the COVID-19 public health crisis, as well as the drug pricing
crisis,” said Tahir Amin, co-founder and co-executive director of I-MAK.
“The outdated patent system is a key driver of the high cost of medicines
and inhibits research and access to life-saving medications for urgent
public health needs.”

I-MAK calls on lawmakers to consider reforms to the current patent system
and to examine whether the current  “drip feed” patent strategy represents
a loophole that allows drug makers to extend their monopoly protection and
keep prices high, while inhibiting research to tackle public health crises
like COVID-19.

The analysis was supported with a grant from the Commonwealth Fund.

*About I-MAK*
Initiative for Medicines Access & Knowledge (I-MAK) is a non-profit
organization of attorneys, scientists, and health experts who have worked
to lower drug prices for 15 years. I-MAK’s mission is to increase global
access to affordable life-saving medicines by restoring integrity to the
patent system.

Tahir Amin
Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director
Initiative for Medicines, Access & Knowledge (I-MAK)
*Website:* www.i-mak.org
*Email:* tahir at i-mak.org
*Skype: *tahirmamin
Twitter: @IMAKglobal @realtahiramin
*Tel:* +1 917 455 6601 <(917)%20455-6601>/+44 771 853 9472

Tahir Amin
Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director
Initiative for Medicines, Access & Knowledge (I-MAK)
*Website:* www.i-mak.org
*Email:* tahir at i-mak.org
*Skype: *tahirmamin
Twitter: @IMAKglobal @realtahiramin
*Tel:* +1 917 455 6601 <(917)%20455-6601>/+44 771 853 9472

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