FORT WORTH, TX — Texas patients will join Senator John Cornyn at his roundtable today to share their stories about the high cost of their prescription drugs and to support the Senator in continuing to push for passage of his bipartisan Affordable Prescriptions for Patients Act. The legislation was introduced by Senator Cornyn and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and aims to curb tactics drug companies use to game the patent system and block generic competition.
Below view the event details, hear from patients who will attend, and read more about the bill.
When: 1:20 PM, Tuesday, February 18, 2020
Where: Northside Community Health Center, Second Floor
2332 Beverly Hills Drive
Fort Worth, TX 76114
Emily Grant, Dallas, cystic fibrosis: “I once had to pay $1,000 up front for a necessary inhaled antibiotic, Colistin. $1,000 is an outrageous cost, and I know that if something happens to my coverage, I could suddenly be faced with this cost again.”
Savanna Braun, The Woodlands, asthma, psoriatic arthritis, and other chronic conditions: “I will have to make major life decisions because of the cost of my drugs. These decisions range from which jobs I seek to whether or not I can afford certain medications or new therapies.”
Randall and Emma Barker, Wichita Falls, father and daughter with type 1 diabetes: “Both my daughter, Emma, and I live with type 1 diabetes. We have had to make real sacrifices to be able to afford the insulin we need to live.”
- The Affordable Prescriptions for Patients Act would:
- Allow the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to bring lawsuits against companies that engage in patent abuses.
- Permit the FTC to investigate whether patent thickets on drugs were created with the intent of delaying generic competition.
- Create an easier and more efficient court-case process for generic drugs seeking to enter the market.
- TYPES OF PATENT ABUSE:
- Product hopping is when a brand drug company makes minor changes to its drug to earn a new patent and gain a new period of exclusivity. Product hops are most common when a brand drug is about to face competition from a generic competitor. The brand company will often transfer patients onto the new version of the drug for which they can charge unchallenged prices.
- Brand drug companies also take advantage of the patent system by adding many trivial patents to their drugs, creating a “patent thicket” and allowing it to maintain longer periods of exclusivity and monopoly power.
- Brand companies also force generic drug companies into a “patent dance” in which the brand company claims a generic company has infringed on its patents — which can add up to over 100 in some cases — forcing lengthy litigation periods that keep generic competition from coming to market.
- PATIENT IMPACT:
- One of the drugs Savanna Braun takes, Eliquis, has had generic competition blocked for 34 years.
- Between 2005 and 2015, more than 75% of drugs to receive new patents were existing drugs already on the market. Of the roughly 100 best-selling drugs, nearly 80% of drugmakers obtained an additional patent to extend products’ monopoly periods, meaning patients are facing crushing drug prices, longer.
- Humira is the world’s top-selling drug; its drug maker, AbbVie, has blocked generic competition for 39 years while increasing the blockbuster’s price by 144% between 2012 and 2018. Patients who need the anti-inflammatory drug can no longer afford it and their chronic conditions go untreated or worsen.