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USPTO Pressured To Change Drug Patenting
August 31, 2022
Some pointed letters have been written to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office by FDA acting Commissioner Janet Woodcock, and Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, and Thom Tillis, R-North Carolina, both of the Senate Judiciary Intellectual Property Subcommittee. They suggest how the organization can better screen drug patent applications in order to reduce prescription drug prices. Woodcock cited a study that showed nearly 80 percent of new patents issued between 2005 and 2015 were for existing drug products as opposed to new drugs. AbbVie has protected the exclusivity of its highly profitable drug Humira by applying for more than 245 patents, 90 percent after initial approval. The extended monopoly will cost American payers and taxpayers $14.4 billion over Humira’s final four years of exclusivity, said I-MAK, which evaluates the effects of patenting strategies by biopharmaceutical companies.
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