Pharmaceutical Companies

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Patent Reform Plunged Into Deep Freeze

(Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

(Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

Patent reform is a big deal in California, and not just to Silicon Valley tech companies. Any company that makes money off a patented idea or technology is keenly interested in what happens at the federal level – or doesn’t. 

“This news is devastating to the welfare of startups who will continue to face the threat of patent trolls.”

Senator Patrick Leahy, the Vermont Democrat who chairs the Judiciary Committee, has taken the patent reform bill off the agenda, lamenting in a statement the various industries that rely on patents could not come to terms “on how to combat the scourge of patent trolls.”

“I have said all along that we needed broad bipartisan support to get a bill through the Senate. Regrettably, competing companies on both sides of this issue refused to come to agreement on how to achieve that goal.” Continue reading

How “Pay-for-Delay” Adds to Drug Prices

(Jupiter Images: Getty)

(Jupiter Images: Getty)

Americans spent more than $300 billion on prescription drugs in 2010. As most consumers know, generic drugs are cheaper than their brand name counterparts. A federal report found consumers saved more than $1 trillion between 1999 and 2010 by using generic drugs. Generic drugs can’t be made or sold until the patent on the original drug expires, usually after 20 years.

But what you might not know is that pharmaceutical companies have long engaged in pay-for-delay. These are payments to generic manufacturers to stay out of the market–to not sell cheaper versions of the drug. According to a Federal Trade Commission report [PDF], these deals have cost consumers $3.5 billion each year in higher prescription drug costs.

“These agreements are instrumental in keeping [drug prices] enormously high.”
Today, California Watch reports that the California Supreme Court has agreed to take up the issue of pay-for-delay by reviewing a decade old class-action lawsuit having to do with the antibiotic Cipro, originally manufactured by Bayer.

Continue reading