Get the Price of Prescription Drugs Down: Change Patent Laws

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Archaic patent laws, as applied to prescription drugs, allow pharmaceutical companies to charge monopoly prices. Patents are awarded on little or no evidence a molecular compound could treat a disease. All that is required to gain a patent is a drawing of a molecule and an academic theory of why it might work. It has become a ‘numbers game’. The Pharmaceutical company strategy is to patent thousands of molecules in the hope one gets to market (US Government official figures: 10,000 patents = one successful drug).

As an example, almost thirty drugs have failed in late stage clinical trials for Alzheimer’s in the last fifteen years. The culprit targeted by most of them (Beta-amyloid plaques) has been discredited and replaced by another (Tau), which has again been proved a failure, at least so far. More theories are on the way...

This is just the tip of a massive iceberg that is costing the planet $100Bns in wasted  effort and resources. Not just cash is wasted, but animals slaughtered, and patient hopes raised, only to be dashed by the last crushing disappointing failure.

The underlying cause is the rush to preserve remaining patent life; more haste, less speed, more failures and less time taken to prevent them.

This could be dramatically reversed, by requiring Pharmaceutical companies to present greater evidence that a molecular compound might have a future—safe, effective, right quality—during the patent application process. The predictive technologies exist, BUT Pharmaceutical companies are not using them, relying on the 'tried and tested' ways in existence for over 50 years.

It would require the regulatory authorities (eg US FDA/EMA/MHRA) to have far great er involvement in patent awards. With their deep knowledge, they could add an important dimension to the assessment of the suitability of drugs to deserve a patent.

This appeal ends with reference to David Mitchell, President for Affordable Drugs (P4AD - see video). David has a rare blood cancer and his prognosis is terminal. Expensive drugs are keeping him alive. He is campaigning tirelessly to bring sense and reason to drug pricing, but the system is against him. We MUST change the [patent] rules and the system will change itself.

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