President Obama is addressing the issue of moving generic drugs more quickly to market. Big PHARMA has had it’s way for the last 60 years with cost increases for medications far above the inflation rate. We now have drugs, single medications, that cost more than automobiles and over a lifetime more than the average home. Imagine, a single drug being the most expensive purchase of a lifetime. That’s the unsustainable monster we’ve created. More here from the Washington Monthly.
A medicynical approach would be to have market based patent durations. If priced reasonably a full patent would be awarded, if priced excessively the length of patent would be proportionally reduced. The devil, of course, is in the details.
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How would you resolve collusion among brand and generic drug companies, in which brand company pays generic companies to delay production? Or brand companies who jack up prices to exorbitant levels on soon-to-go generic products so docs will write “son-of” prescriptions and pts might refuse the generic of the original?
We’re seen in so many areas that complete deregulation of markets lead to mischief. The drug marketplace is not unique in this regard.
Companies need to understand that patent protection is a form of government regulation of markets and as such can be regulated further if the privilege is abused.
In answer to your question I’d have a firm expiration date of the patent; shorten patent length if drug companies increase prices over the rate of inflation; apply the reasonably pricing part of the Dole-Bayh legislation of the 80’s.