Congress Should Approve Bill That Would Close Drug Patent Law Loopholes, Los Angeles Times Says
Congress should pass a bill (S 812), sponsored by Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) that would close "[l]oopholes in U.S. law" that allow drug manufacturers to file lawsuits against generic competitors and subsequently receive 30-month patent extensions, a Los Angeles Times editorial states. Although the bill was "declared dead" last year, it has returned this year with "powerful groups" of labor and employers "behind it," the editorial says. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee is scheduled to discuss the bill today. The Times notes that drug companies "deserve" to recover the "significant costs" from bringing a drug to market and to "earn a fair profit," adding that the Schumer-McCain bill would "merely require" the Federal Trade Commission to "carefully ... assess each patent infringement claim" and would discourage the agency from "automatic[ally]" granting the patent extensions. The editorial concludes, "It will take more than this bill to tame drug costs, but it at least takes aim at costly patented drugs that long ago made back their developmental costs and turned a handsome profit for their makers" (Los Angeles Times, 5/8).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.