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Thu Dec 7, 2023, 04:46 PM Dec 7

Biden administration asserts power to seize drug patents in move to slash high prices [View all]


The Biden administration on Thursday opened the door to seizing the patents of certain costly medications from drugmakers in a new push to slash high drug prices and promote more pharmaceutical competition.

The administration unveiled a framework outlining the factors federal agencies should consider in deciding whether to use a controversial policy, known as march-in rights, to take patents for drugs developed with taxpayer funds and share them with other pharmaceutical companies if the public cannot “reasonably” access the medications. Doing so could lead to the development of lower-priced generic alternatives, which could cut into key drug companies’ profits and reduce costs for patients.

For the first time, officials can now factor in a medication’s price in deciding to break a patent.

It is unclear whether and how federal agencies will use march-in rights under the new framework. Notably, “no agency to date” has exercised the policy, which came about under the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980, a senior administration official said during a call with reporters Wednesday.

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