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senate Bill S. 1416

Should the FTC be able to Challenge Anti-Competitive ‘Product Hopping’ by Pharmaceutical Companies?

Argument in favor

Patent system abuse by pharmaceutical companies is one of the industry’s key tools for suppressing generic competition. Defining patent thicketing and product hopping will empower the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to challenge these practices as anticompetitive and prevent companies’ abuse of the patent system.

jimK's Opinion
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10/06/2019
Why would anyone deny the FTC any tools to monitor anticompetitive practices of any industry? It seems that patent thicketing and product hopping are legal tools employed by big pharma to gain unfair advantage over competitors. It is a prime example of Crony-Capitalism, where companies with resources succeed by gaming the system and purchasing political influence. Generally, I prefer Real Capitalism, where companies succeed by competing on a level playing field and 'win' by making better, more useful products and services than their competitors. As an example, I have to take a very expensive medicine which is packaged in a specially made gelatin capsule that will dissolve in the intestines and not the stomach. The generic formulation of this medicine is extremely economical but cannot be used in my case, since the special encapsulating gel capsule needed to deliver this medicine, is not. This seems ridiculous to me since the difference in costs are several orders of magnitude- to the point that I could not afford this medicine without really good (and expensive) supplementary insurance. I have to ask, Why?
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Tonig's Opinion
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10/06/2019
RX costs (just co-pays and drugs not on insurer's formulary) comprise 20% of my household income. Does that answer your question? I would think so
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RjGoodman's Opinion
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10/06/2019
Yes, the Pharmaceutical industry has abused the patent process for decades. They have used the system to delay the introduction of generic drugs and maintain extremely high prices. By codifying the definitions of patent thicketing and product hopping the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will be able to prosecute these anticompetitive practices.
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Argument opposed

Patenting products is a common practice across all industries. Specifically targeting the pharmaceutical industry for patenting its products discriminates against the industry and could have a chilling effect on innovation and new product development by both branded and generic pharmaceutical companies.

Glowurm's Opinion
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10/06/2019
Only if they were run by responsible, patriotic individuals, which they, presently, are NOT ! Jim Cornyn is just another Pig and big corporations defender. Has to be something stinky about this bill. We must wait until responsible, patriotic, honestly elected officials are in place. Not the blindly following dingbats!
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Ryan's Opinion
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10/07/2019
This bill shifts the focus back to companies. It does not directly curtail the rising drug prices that are effecting everyday Americans. Get the healthcare industry running like a utility.
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Thelma's Opinion
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10/06/2019
This bill is NOT ENOUGH by far. No one should make a profit from the illness of others, period. Drug development should have much more involvement from the federal government. This bill is not enough.
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    Why would anyone deny the FTC any tools to monitor anticompetitive practices of any industry? It seems that patent thicketing and product hopping are legal tools employed by big pharma to gain unfair advantage over competitors. It is a prime example of Crony-Capitalism, where companies with resources succeed by gaming the system and purchasing political influence. Generally, I prefer Real Capitalism, where companies succeed by competing on a level playing field and 'win' by making better, more useful products and services than their competitors. As an example, I have to take a very expensive medicine which is packaged in a specially made gelatin capsule that will dissolve in the intestines and not the stomach. The generic formulation of this medicine is extremely economical but cannot be used in my case, since the special encapsulating gel capsule needed to deliver this medicine, is not. This seems ridiculous to me since the difference in costs are several orders of magnitude- to the point that I could not afford this medicine without really good (and expensive) supplementary insurance. I have to ask, Why?
    Like (83)
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    Only if they were run by responsible, patriotic individuals, which they, presently, are NOT ! Jim Cornyn is just another Pig and big corporations defender. Has to be something stinky about this bill. We must wait until responsible, patriotic, honestly elected officials are in place. Not the blindly following dingbats!
    Like (11)
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    RX costs (just co-pays and drugs not on insurer's formulary) comprise 20% of my household income. Does that answer your question? I would think so
    Like (28)
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    Yes, the Pharmaceutical industry has abused the patent process for decades. They have used the system to delay the introduction of generic drugs and maintain extremely high prices. By codifying the definitions of patent thicketing and product hopping the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will be able to prosecute these anticompetitive practices.
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    Somebody needs to take on out-of-control Big Pharma. The majority of their profits go to marketing and “gifting” doctors at “seminars” rather than research.
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    Yes, this will help to create healthy competition for pharmaceuticals and lower prices for consumers. You could also allow us to buy drugs from Canada. Medicare For All would give the government the power to negotiate the lowest drug prices. 😊
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    I agree with the FTC having this authority, but where do the fines the FTC collect go? I have never received a portion of the billions of dollars in fines this agency has collected as a result of action being take by a product or service I used. For example, anyone get their portion of the fines Facebook paid for misusing our data???
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    Big Pharma is the worst of all groups. They must be broken and shattered.
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    YUP! MAYBE WE COULD START WITH THE PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES NOT WRITING LEGISLATION ABD HAVING IT RUBBER STAMPED BY THE CONGRESSMEN THE COMPANIES HAVE BOUGHT!!!
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    Clearly the pharmaceutical industry needs more regulation
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    This is a fair start. However. Must address the health care crisis in our nation and instate Comprehensive Medicare-for-all Now!
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    The function of the FTC, in part, is to monitor industries for monopolistic and anticompetitive practices. This legislation empowers the FTC to do a better job in the pharmaceutical industry. This situation is particularly bad because medicine is something people need to maintain their health. The cost of not taking medicine that you need is enormous, to you and everyone else. An explanation follows (TLDR for most): Economics’ basic supply-demand model assumes (perfectly—not going into details) competitive markets. When the pharmaceutical industry uses business practices to prevent competition, it causes a market failure. They get to scoop up all the benefits and share little with consumers or government. You can tell that’s the situation here because of tactics like the ones the legislation is trying to bring under control and what it does to prices. When there is market failure, the government needs to correct it. Companies and industries don’t have an incentive to be self-correcting. (We saw that with the 2007-2008 financial disaster, and even Allen Greenspan owned up to it. Fat lot of good that did after the fact.) What’s worse is that the current situation causes negative impacts on consumers. We bear the cost, and the companies reap the profits. The whole mess ripples through and has a negative impact on the entire economy. The real solution is to recognize that health care is a public good, just like your local fire department. And that leads to universal health care, like others have written. Long-winded and technical, but it’s worth understanding the background, if you want to.
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    Absolutely, they are exploiting a loophole. We need to close it.
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    They make enormous profits already can make products more affordable and still make money
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    Medicine should not be for profit
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    The federal government should by law be allowed, rather than not be allowed, to negotiate prices for medicines and treatment.
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    Get it passed as soon as possible.
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    UNIVERSAL SINGLE PAYER HEALTHCARE SYSTEM NOW!
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    Anticompetitive? Try monopolistic. That’s the ground the pharmaceutical companies currently stand on. They are about money and only money; pharmaceutical companies couldn’t care less about their customers’ health, only their money.
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    Yes - it makes sense to help the FDC regulate the big pharmaceutical market. Big companies are using product-hopping and other strategies to take charge of the industry.
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