Consumer Action joins coalition pushing back at drug patent abuse

Aim is to end shenanigans by drug companies to keep medicine prices high

Americans pay up to 65 percent more for drugs than citizens in other Western countries. One of the reasons is "patent abuse" by drug companies aiming to extend their monopolies as patents are due to expire on brand-name, profit-center drugs. In fact, 75 percent of all pharmaceutical patents between 2005 and 2015 were issued on old, previously patented medicines, not new drugs.

Consumer Action has joined the Coalition Against Patent Abuse (CAPA), a new effort by healthcare providers, consumer groups, patient advocacy organizations, free market advocates, employers and others to fight abuses of the patent system that can extend government-granted monopolies that illegitimately keep drug prices high for years, or even decades.

"Consumer Action strongly agrees with our colleagues in the new coalition that regulators and Congress must work to efficiently eliminate patents sought by drug companies for protectionsim, not innovation," said Linda Sherry, director of national priorities for the San Francisco-based non-profit consumer education and advocacy organization. "CAPA will work to highlight the issue and put pressure on those with the power to stop the abuses."

Legal shenanigans by brand-name drug companies keep medicine prices high for patients, taxpayers and payers of healthcare. They also stifle innovation and medical advancements. CAPA will focus primarily on untoward efforts to maintain government-granted monopolies through abuses of the patent system by drug manufacturers. These tactics by certain brand-name drug companies prevent patients from affordably accessing the life-saving medicines they need, and drain resources to pay for healthcare.

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Consumer Action has been a champion of underrepresented consumers nationwide since 1971. A non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, Consumer Action focuses on consumer education that empowers low- and moderate-income and limited-English-speaking consumers to financially prosper. It also advocates for consumers in the media and before lawmakers to advance consumer rights and promote industry-wide change.

By providing consumer education materials in multiple languages, a free national hotline, a comprehensive website (www.consumer-action.org) and annual surveys of financial and consumer services, Consumer Action helps consumers assert their rights in the marketplace and make financially savvy choices. Nearly 7,000 community and grassroots organizations benefit annually from its extensive outreach programs, training materials and support.

 

 

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