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I-MAK Releases a Policy Blueprint to Address Patent Thickets, Improve Competition, and Lower Prescription Drug Prices
The Initiative for Medicines, Access, and Knowledge (I-MAK), a leading advocate for a more just medicines system, is proud to release the third of its series in policy blueprints that call for reform of the patent system in order to address systemic issues that harm competition and drive high prescription drug prices.
NEW YORK, Dec. 5, 2023 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- The Initiative for Medicines, Access, and Knowledge (I-MAK), a leading advocate for a more just medicines system, is proud to release the third of its series in policy blueprints that call for reform of the patent system in order to address systemic issues that harm competition and drive high prescription drug prices.
Over the last 30 years, drug prices in the United States have outpaced inflation three-fold, and thirty percent of Americans report not taking their medication as prescribed due to cost. In a series of groundbreaking reports, I-MAK has revealed the extent of abuse of the patent system by brand-name companies, especially through the creation of patent thickets. Drugmakers create patent thickets by filing dozens and even hundreds of patents on a single drug in an attempt to maintain their monopoly for as long as possible. As a result, generic and biosimilar competition, which can help significantly reduce prices and make medicines more available to Americans that can't currently afford them, is delayed.
The proposed policies set out in the blueprint are based on specifically addressing some of the root causes and strategies brand-name drugmakers use to build patent thickets under the current laws and procedures. It calls for sensible and long overdue reforms that will return integrity to the patent system by strengthening transparency, encouraging evidence-based policy, and raising the level of patent quality and inventiveness, all while strengthening competition and helping lower drug prices. Given the unsustainable increases in the prices of medicines year on year in the U.S, this blueprint is intended to help policymakers, stakeholders, and the public to engage in discussions about patent reform, and find solutions that will address the pharmaceutical patent thicket problem that allows drugmakers to game the system in order to maximize revenues at the cost of patients.
I-MAK's blueprints use a Participatory Changemaking (PCM) model to synthesize information gathered through literature reviews, key informant interviews, and by convening a diverse group of stakeholders in order to identify potential policy options.The policies in this blueprint were developed based on evidence and the practice experiences of lawyers, scientists, generic and biosimilar companies, as well as clinical practitioners and patients who are using many of the medicines that are affected by the current workings of the patent system.
"By adopting these measures, we can bring integrity back to the patent system as intended by the Constitution, which is to reward original inventions for a limited time and ensure the system actually serves the public by ensuring that life-saving medications remain within reach for every person," says Tahir Amin, CEO of I-MAK.
I-MAK's research and reports have been lauded for exposing the abuses of the patent system while finding bi-partisan solutions that address the root causes of structural inequities in the medicines system. To read the latest policy blueprint, visit https://www.i-mak.org/addressing-patent-thickets-blueprint.
The Initiative for Medicines, Access, and Knowledge (or I-MAK) is a 501(c)(3) organization with a mission to build a more just and equitable medicines system. Our framework integrates analytical research to inform policy, education to activate change, and partnerships to drive solutions. We bring decades of private-sector expertise and an evidence based approach to this mission. Our work spans 50 countries and includes engagement with patients, drug manufacturers, patent offices, community leaders, public health professionals, policymakers, scientists, economists, and more.
SOURCE The Initiative for Medicines, Access, and Knowledge (I-MAK)