Misuse of drug patenting could cost the health system billions

April 10, 2013

(Medical Xpress)—Companies may be misusing the drug patenting system in order to gain control over high-cost drugs in Australia, research from the Melbourne Law School has found.

The research, published in PLOS ONE on Saturday, looked at patents on 15 high-cost or "blockbuster" drugs in Australia over the last 20 years.

It found an average of 50 patents covered each , most of which were owned by companies that did not invent the drug.

Lead author Professor Andrew Christie, Foundation Chair of Intellectual Property at Melbourne Law School, said while there was much concern about companies abusing the to keep drugs expensive, the research suggests that the blame may be being placed on the wrong party.

"It is the non-originator drug companies – those that do not develop – that are taking out the most patents. We are not sure why, but we suspect it is to ride on the coat tails of the drug's success, such as by owning an alternative formulation or delivery mechanism for the drug", he said.

With high and increasing drug costs in Australia, the potential misuse of the patenting system may come at a high cost for the health system.

"The 15 drugs in our study cost the country more than $17 billion over two decades. There are suspicions that abusive patenting by the big pharmaceutical companies is keeping that cost high."

"Our research shows that patenting by and other players may be just as important."

The team of researchers also includes Professor David Studdert of the Melbourne Law School and School of Population and and Professor Peter McIntyre of the Health Innovations Research Institute at RMIT University.

The research paper, "Patents Associated with High-Cost Drugs in Australia," can be found on the PLOS ONE website.

Explore further: Indian court to rule on generic drug industry

More information: www.plosone.org/article/info%3 … journal.pone.0060812

Related Stories

Indian court to rule on generic drug industry

January 4, 2013
(AP)—From Africa's crowded AIDS clinics to the malarial jungles of Southeast Asia, the lives of millions of ill people in the developing world are hanging in the balance ahead of a legal ruling that will determine whether ...

High court weighs drug companies' generics policy

March 25, 2013
(AP)—The Supreme Court is struggling with whether it should stop pharmaceutical corporations from paying generic drug competitors to delay releasing their cheaper versions of brand-name drugs.

Drug maker Novartis loses India patent battle (Update)

April 1, 2013
India's Supreme Court on Monday rejected drug maker Novartis AG's attempt to patent an updated version of a cancer drug in a landmark decision that health activists say ensures poor patients around the world will get continued ...

India's top court to deliver Novartis judgment

March 31, 2013
India's Supreme Court is to rule Monday on a landmark patent case involving Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG that focuses on demands by major companies that their investments be protected, against Indian companies that say they ...

Pharmaceutical intellectual property laws need reform

November 7, 2011
Canada's pharmaceutical intellectual property laws need major reform to encourage and protect innovation in developing new drugs, states an analysis in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Bayer vows to fight for patent on anti-cancer drug in India

March 4, 2013
German pharmaceuticals giant Bayer, maker of Aspirin, vowed Monday to fight a ruling by the patent authorities in India allowing a local company to produce and sell a generic copy of its anti-cancer drug Nexavar.

Recommended for you

Study suggests ending opioid epidemic will take years

July 20, 2017
The question of how to stem the nation's opioid epidemic now has a major detailed response. A new study chaired by University of Virginia School of Law Professor Richard Bonnie provides extensive recommendations for curbing ...

Team-based model reduces prescription opioid use among patients with chronic pain by 40 percent

July 17, 2017
A new, team-based, primary care model is decreasing prescription opioid use among patients with chronic pain by 40 percent, according to a new study out of Boston Medical Center's Grayken Center for Addiction Medicine, which ...

Private clinics' peddling of unproven stem cell treatments is unsafe and unethical

July 7, 2017
Stem cell science is an area of medical research that continues to offer great promise. But as this week's paper in Science Translational Medicine highlights, a growing number of clinics around the globe, including in Australia, ...

Popular heartburn drugs linked to higher death risk

July 4, 2017
Popular heartburn drugs called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) have been linked to a variety of health problems, including serious kidney damage, bone fractures and dementia. Now, a new study from Washington University School ...

Most reproductive-age women using opioids also use another substance

June 30, 2017
The majority of reproductive-age and pregnant women who use opioids for non-medical purposes also use at least one other substance, ranging from nicotine or alcohol to cocaine, according to a University of Pittsburgh Graduate ...

At-risk chronic pain patients taper opioids successfully with psychological tools

June 28, 2017
Psychological support and new coping skills are helping patients at high risk of developing chronic pain and long-term, high-dose opioid use taper their opioids and rebuild their lives with activities that are meaningful ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.