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Consumer groups say drug manufacturers abuse US patent system to keep prices high According to Reuters

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© Reuters. A sign stands outside the Bristol Myers Squibb facility in Cambridge, Massachusetts, US, May 20, 2021. REUTERS / Brian Snyder

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By Ahmed Aboulenein

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Manufacturers of top-selling drugs in the United States are costing patients billions of dollars and exacerbating a drug price crisis by abusing the US patent system to restrict competition and raise prices, a consumer group said on Thursday,

New York-based Drugs, Access & Knowledge Initiatives (I-MAK) said in a report that three of the top 10 best-selling drugs in the US have no domestic competitors. and will cost Americans an additional $167 billion before they expect it.

“U.S. prescription drug spending exceeds $400 billion today,” said I-MAK, a nonprofit group of lawyers and scientists funded by key groups in the pharmaceutical industry. , is expected to reach nearly a trillion dollars by 2030.

I-MAK says cheaper generic and biosimilar versions of Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:) and Pfizer Blood clot-preventing drugs by Eliquis (NYSE:), Humira by AbbVie (NYSE:) and Enbrel by Amgen (NASDAQ:), both used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, will be available in central Europe. average 7.7 years ago. their expected launch in the United States.

AbbVie, Amgen, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Drugmakers have used the method of searching for multiple patents for small variations on a single invention, called a patent plate, to stave off general competition for decades.

“Patent abuse is not limited to a few bad actors. There is growing evidence that an essential part of the pharmaceutical industry’s business model for today’s best-selling drugs is builds on maintaining control of the market by exploiting an outdated patent system,” the group said.

The report concludes: “Pharmaceutical companies secure hundreds of patents to stave off competition because they can.

It calls on legislators and government agencies to end patent denseness and modernize the patent system.

I-MAK says manufacturers of the top ten best-selling drugs in the US have filed an average of 140 patent applications for each drug, 66% of which are subject to FDA approval. United States Food and Drug Administration. An average of 74 patents were issued for each drug, four times more than in Europe.

The Swiss Competition Commission (COMCO) on Thursday opened an investigation into Novartis over the illegal use of patents to reduce competitive pressure.

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