Why prescription prices stay high: Pharma recycles old medications

Filed Under: Costs, Health plans, Patients

pills spilling out of bottle

Oatent extensions let drug makers keep prices high and prevent competition, as described in a recent study from the University of California at Hastings College of the Law tracks. “Rather than creating new medicines, pharmaceutical companies are recycling and repurposing old ones,” write the authors, Robin Feldman and Connie Wang. “Every year, at least 74% of the drugs associated with new patents in the FDA’s records were not new drugs coming on the market, but existing drugs. Adding new patents and exclusivities to extend the protection cliff is particularly pronounced among blockbuster drugs. Of the roughly 100 best-selling drugs, almost 80% extended their protection at least once, with almost 50% extending the protection cliff more than once.” Robin Feldman and Connie Wang, “May Your Drug Price Be Ever Green,” University of California at Hastings College of the Law.