Sanders praises FTC challenge of ‘junk’ patents for drugs, including Ozempic | common dreams

US Sen. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday praised the Biden administration for expanding its “campaign against pharmaceutical manufacturers’ incorrect or inaccurate patent listing” for a wide range of drugs, including Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic.

“Let me commend the Federal Trade Commission, under the leadership of Chairman Lina Khan, for taking bold action today against the false patents that Novo Nordisk has filed to prevent Americans struggling with diabetes from receiving a generic version of Ozempic at a much lower price.” Sanders (I-Vt.) said in a statement.

Sanders, who chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, stressed that “Novo Nordisk cannot be allowed to make billions in profits by delaying generic competition for Ozempic by illegally filing junk patents that have nothing to do with the drug itself, but the injection pen.”

“Last week, the HELP Committee, which I chair, launched an investigation into the outrageously high prices that Novo Nordisk is charging for Ozempic and Wegovy in the United States,” he noted. The first name is used when the patient is taking the drug for type 2 diabetes and the second is used when it is prescribed to treat obesity in adults with at least one weight-related comorbidity.

“In my view, we can no longer tolerate Novo Nordisk charging the American people $969 for Ozempic when the exact same drug can be purchased for only $155 in Canada and $59 in Germany, while costing less to manufacture of $5,” the senator said. “I look forward to working with the Biden administration to take on Novo Nordisk’s greed and substantially lower the price of Ozempic and other prescription drugs.”

After disputing more than 100 patents in the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Orange Book in November, the FTC sent warning letters to 10 companies on Tuesday and notified the agency that it challenged the accuracy or relevance of more of 300 listings in 20 different brands. products

In addition to Denmark-based Novo Nordisk, the FTC sent letters to Amphastar Pharmaceuticals, AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim, Covis Pharma, Glaxo-Smith Kline, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and certain subsidiaries of asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes and weight loss drugs.

“By filing false patent listings, drug companies block competition and drive up the cost of prescription drugs, forcing Americans to pay sky-high prices for the drugs they depend on,” Khan said. “By challenging junk patent applications, the FTC is fighting these illegal tactics and ensuring that Americans have timely access to innovative and affordable versions of the medicines they need.”

Sanders wasn’t alone in praising the commission and its President-appointed leader Joe Biden for ongoing efforts to combat Big Pharma’s greed.

Steve Knievel, an advocate for the public access to medicines program, said that “it’s getting harder and harder for pharmaceutical corporations to use patent cheats to thwart competition, thanks to the FTC and Chairwoman Lina Khan.”

“Incorrectly listing patents in the FDA’s Orange Book hinders generic competition, which is proven to dramatically lower prescription drug prices, saving patients and the public billions of dollars,” he said, becoming Khan echoed. “Today’s letter is yet another demonstration by the Biden-Harris administration that routine Big Pharma monopoly abuses and price gouging will not be tolerated.”

“The FDA should complement the FTC’s action by clarifying the guidelines for patents that can be listed in the Orange Book,” he continued, noting that such action has been proposed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass. ) and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D). – Wash.). “The government should also explore using licensing authorities to tackle pharmaceutical monopoly abuses, leaving no option off the table.”

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