The Bills Aim To Curb Patent Abuses By Drug Companies, And Shine A Light On Secret Practices Of Pharmacy Benefit Managers
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The following statement was issued by Merith Basey, executive director of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now, in response to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s vote to advance a package of five bipartisan bills that would lower drug prices and promote both competition and innovation by curbing anticompetitive behavior committed by pharmaceutical corporations and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs):
“On behalf of patients all across the country, thank you Chairman Durbin, Ranking Member Graham, and members of the Senate Judiciary Committee for passing legislation to help fix key elements of our rigged drug price system. We fully support the bills to crack down on patent abuse, increase coordination between the FDA and USPTO to ensure patents are used to reward innovation and not to unfairly block competition, as well as investigate the practices of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). Together these bills can help to restore balance to our drug price system and increase competition to lower drug prices for patients.
“We urge Senate Majority Leader Schumer to bring these bills to the floor for a vote as soon as possible, and we call on each senator to support the passage of this bipartisan package intact without any weakening amendments from Big Pharma.”
- A recording of this morning’s Senate Judiciary Committee markup can be watched here.
- The legislative package includes the following bills:
- S. 79, Interagency Patent Coordination and Improvement Act of 2023, establishes an interagency task force between the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the United States Food and Drug Administration to encourage collaboration on drug patents that will promote competition and lower drug prices.
- S. 113, Prescription Pricing for the People Act of 2023, requires the FTC to examine the role of intermediaries within the pharmaceutical supply chain, including pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), and develop policy recommendations to prevent anticompetitive behavior and ensure savings are passed on to patients.
- S. 142, Preserve Access to Affordable Generics and Biosimilars Act of 2023, cracks down on collusive pay-for-delay settlements by making them presumptively anticompetitive, a reform that would stop brand-name companies from artificially lengthening monopoly periods in an effort to keep more affordable generic competitors from reaching consumers in a timely fashion.
- S. 148, Stop STALLING Act, eliminates drug company abuse of the Food and Drug Administration’s citizen petition program by defining sham petitions and deeming them anti-competitive under the Federal Trade Commission Act.
- S. 150, Affordable Prescriptions for Patients Act of 2023, defines product hopping as anti-competitive under the Federal Trade Commission Act and permits the FTC to undertake litigation against manufacturers engaged in this tactic; the bill also facilitates biosimilar market entry by limiting the number of patents a brand-name drug company can use to block competition from biosimilars.
- The five bills can now receive votes on the Senate floor.