Welcome to the Week in Review.

1.  Drug Companies Game The Patent System
As blockbuster drugs approach patent expiration, major pharmaceutical companies are deploying manipulative tactics to extend their monopoly pricing power and delay or prevent lower-cost competition. In 2023, the cancer drug Keytruda was the top seller with $23 billion in sales, in 2028 the manufacturer Merck is set to lose a key patent on the drug which would allow biosimilar alternatives into the market and reduce the corporation’s revenues. Merck is not alone in exploiting the patent system. AbbVie, the maker of best-selling Humira, notoriously constructed a “thicket” of more than 160 patents around the drug, delaying affordable biosimilar alternatives for decades and forcing patients to bear exorbitant prices. While the drug companies stop at nothing to maximize their profit margins, even at the expense of patients, P4ADNOW is working to advance bipartisan legislation to curb these anti-competitive practices and secure lower drug prices for all Americans. — (Quartz, The New York Times, P4ADNOW)

2. Big Pharma’s Actions Belie R&D Claims
In the first quarter of 2024, the ten drugs selected for Medicare negotiation brought in $16.5 billion in revenue, contributing to $25.4 billion in combined profits for the drug manufacturers. An Accountable.US report revealed this week that in 2023, the eight drug companies that manufacture these 10 drugs collectively spent $95.9 billion on research and development (R&D), while also shelling out $162 billion, almost twice as much, for stock buybacks, dividends, and marketing and administrative costs and nearly $500 million on executive compensation. The findings expose the continued hypocrisy of the pharmaceutical corporations that are challenging the Medicare negotiation program in court. While claiming that lower negotiated drug prices will severely impact their ability to innovate and invest in new drugs, these companies dedicated a disproportionate amount of their resources for payments to executives and shareholders and have plenty of capital to spare to invest in new R&D. — (Protect Our CareAccountable.USThe Hill

BONUS: According to a national poll conducted by the University of Michigan, 54 percent of adults over the age of 50 said they were “very concerned” about the cost of prescription drugs. While the drug price reforms in the Inflation Reduction are already lowering drug costs for millions of patients on Medicare there are more victories to be won that will lower drug prices for everyone in the US.