Removing Patent Rights to Lower Drug Costs Is a Dangerous Precedent
This commentary was originally published in The Denver Post on April 6, 2022.
The Biden administration is considering a seismic policy shift that could stop companies from developing lifesaving drugs and other high-tech products—for any market application.
Bureaucrats are debating whether to take away patent rights on Xtandi, a prostate cancer drug, from its manufacturer. Activists have complained that the medicine’s price is too high. They argue that because the molecule behind the drug originated in a research lab that received federal funding, the government has the power under the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980 to “march in” and relicense the patent to other drug companies that could create cheaper versions.
That’s not only a misreading of the law—it’s a disastrous idea that could effectively destroy the legal foundation for the public-private research partnerships that bring new products to U.S. consumers.