Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Pharma Profits: Patents Or Patients

The pharmaceutical companies have made the business more inhuman by raising the prices. There are generic drug companies, but some loopholes in the system prevent the production and supply of low-cost drugs. A law that could force these companies to share the sample medicines to generic producers can help a lot. The passage of samples can also help the generic drug production companies to research and come up with something better. The pharmaceutical patents have become a great source of income for companies, and that’s why the prices are going higher. They target the patents for their profit without thinking about the patients.

Some laws that could help and encourage the production of generic drugs are there but what prevents things from working out is the corruption in the middle. The patents are government’s permission to let the companies produce medications while in the meantime generic companies could provide the drug for a lower price. As soon as the license expires, the generic drug comes over the market, and people get access to low-cost drugs. This is a concept known as the Hatch-Waxman Act. It had been useful in increasing the production of generic medicines.

The companies for their benefits find a break for every law and for this one too, the loopholes emerged with time which reduced the effectiveness of the act. Companies now have schemes that help them in extending patents. It seems like the target of the companies is only making money by having the licenses rather than serving the patients and earning the value of their efforts. Some of the major things that prevent the production and evolution of generic drugs are here for you to read and understand.

Exclusive provision to pediatric research

The pharmaceutical companies got the chance to extend their patents by conducting clinical trials, and companies made use of this law for their benefits. The Pediatric Exclusivity Provision in 1997 made it possible for the companies to get their patent extended by doing research and to make trials on children. The companies abused this law too. Many a time, the companies tested merely to extend the patents, and they got successful also. Children with a rare disease named Duchenne muscular dystrophy were given Cialis, while a drug called Viagra was tested on children with heart and lung issues. The drugs were not effective in the diseases plus one warning was also issued for Viagra, but after that too, the patents got extended.

Transferring patent

The companies can transfer their patents to hide from patent challenges. They pay some money to the ones whom they transfer the patent to keep using it on their name. It should not be unbelievable that the profit margins are so high that even after paying a huge amount to lease the patent, the company earns a good profit.

The citizen petition process

The act helps people to file a petition so that they could contribute to public health by requesting the delay in approval. But, the drug companies used it again for their benefits and started filing petitions to delay the approval of low-cost generic medicines. Thus, the generic medicines go on wait for a long time because of the petition from branded companies for their profit.

Pay and delay

The branded companies pay some amount to the generic producers to not develop an affordable medicine version so that they could stay in the market. The agreements are illegal, but still many of the pharma companies are using such tactics to prevent cheaper medicines to come into the market. The generic companies are paid billions every year for this purpose, and this is what shows the profit margin of such companies.

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