A Senate proposal would strip biotech drugs of their patent-protected status after twelve years, opening the door to competition from generic drug makers. Patent protection determines how long obnoxious pharmaceutical CEOs can spend outside their competitor’s offices dancing with their drugs to MC Hammer’s 1990 hit, “U Can’t Touch This.” Unlike regular drugs made by chemical synthesis, biotech drugs are derived from human proteins.
According to the FDA, most brand-name drugs receive patent protection for 20 years, though there is a large lead time between the submission of a patent and the sale of a drug. Most drug companies enjoy their patent protection for only seven years, at which point generic drug makers, who do not need to recoup the cost of development or marketing, step in and offer the same drug for a third of the price.
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will mark up the proposal on Wednesday. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER
Lawmakers Offer U.S. Plan for Generic Biotech Drugs [Bloomberg]
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