Congress to assess ways to boost competition and reduce prescription drug costs

US National Capitol. American landmark in Washington, DC. United States Capitol.

Congress will consider methods to increase competition and lower the cost of prescription medications. On Tuesday, senators from all political parties accused pharma firms of abusing the system.

“I’m a big believer in our patent system, and I believe in the exclusivity that is provided to people who discover new life-saving drugs,” Senator John Cornyn, R-Texas, said. “But at the same time, I’m angry when I look at the abuse of the patent system.”
According to Cornyn, companies may submit up to 160 patents for any individual medicine.

That strategy is known as “evergreening,” a procedure in which a drugmaker extends the patent by making minor changes to the drug or the gadget used to deliver the medication.

Many patients are paying inflated prices. Too often, the prices charged by Big Pharma do not reflect scientific advancement; instead, they are the work of skilled lawyers manipulating the patent system.

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