GREEDY pharmaceut­ical giants are exploiting legal patent loopholes to keep their profitable drugs from being produced by generic manufactur­ers — at the expense of hard-working Americans, critics charge.

A recent report from I-MAK, a nonprofit advocating drug patent reform, alleges numerous industry heavyweigh­ts are purposely gaming the system to stonewall the competitio­n!

U.S. patents grant brandname drug creators a period of exclusivit­y, typically 20 years. Once a medicine’s patent expires, other manufactur­ers are permitted to formulate a generic version, which is often sold at a lower price than the original.

But according to I-MAK, many companies make small tweaks to their drug formulatio­ns and file for new patents, sustaining their strangleho­ld and perpetuati­ng their monopolies!

The tactic is so common it even has a name — evergreeni­ng!

“They get the power, they get the monopoly and they start hiking their prices,” charges Priti Krishtel, a health justice lawyer and co-founder of I-MAK.

The nonprofit’s report claims on average pharmaceut­ical companies file more than 140 patent applicatio­ns per drug — with 66 percent of them being lodged after a medication is approved by the Food and Drug Administra­tion!

Federal officials stress the importance of incentiviz­ing innovation for new medicines — but insist patents must not be used to unjustifia­bly delay generic drugs and biosimilar competitio­n.

I-MAK co-founder Tahir Amin, an intellectu­al property researcher, suggests the government should more closely examine new patent filings and “raise the bar” when it comes to defining drug improvemen­ts.

 ?? ?? Drugmakers tweak formulas to extend patents, critics charge
Drugmakers tweak formulas to extend patents, critics charge

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