“Affordable Prescriptions for Patients Through Promoting Competition Act” = “Unavailable Prescriptions for Patients Through Killing Innovation Act”
Last week, U.S. Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island introduced the “Affordable Prescriptions for Patients Through Promoting Competition Act,” which could more accurately have been named the “Unavailable Prescriptions for Patients Through Killing Innovation Act,” because that’s exactly what its effect would be.
Cicilline’s bill would disqualify from patent protection many of the prescription drug innovations that until now have been protected and which American patients have come to enjoy and expect. This would hurt prescription drug innovation and would lead to fewer products and improvements being developed for patients.
Cicilline’s bill ignores the reality that patent protection drives and enables the research and development that deliver valuable new medicines to patients who need them. The current system, which grants patents for applications it finds to be new and useful, has worked well—especially with the long time it takes for the risky investment in developing a new drug to pay off. In the prescription drug industry, it takes 10+ years to develop a new drug, and only 1 in 10 drugs that makes it to clinical trials is approved.
Cicilline’s bill also ignores the fact that new drug innovations help actual, ailing people. Often, the innovations that the bill would disqualify include new preparations, new dosage forms, and new combination products that can have a profound effect on the clinical profile of a medicine and can offer many benefits, including more convenience (for example, two-a-day to a one-a-day innovation, greater adherence, improved quality of life, and fewer side effects).
The hardworking doctors and innovative scientists who invent the miracle cures to improve people’s quality of life and to keep people alive do not deserve Cicilline’s attack, and neither do the patients that the doctors and scientists serve.
For these reasons, we urge opposition to the “Affordable Prescriptions for Patients Through Promoting Competition Act” of 2019.