AHF Backs FTC Challenge to Big Pharma Junk Patents

In Global Advocacy, Global Featured, News by Brian Shepherd

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) voiced support for the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) taking action this week to challenge several major pharmaceutical companies, including GSK, for anticompetitive use of so-called junk patents that prevent generic competition and keep drug prices artificially high.

“Big pharma is abusing the patent system by filing multiple derivative patents on existing drugs – which is not innovation. It’s greed. They pull every trick in the book to extend lucrative monopolies on a wide range of treatments for HIV, diabetes, asthma, weight loss, and more, and the public is left paying the bill,” said AHF President Michael Weinstein. “We applaud the FTC and the Biden administration for scrutinizing these practices to protect public health and ensure affordable access to vital medicines in the United States.”

Around the world, GSK has kept several middle-income countries, including Colombia and Trinidad and Tobago, from accessing generic versions of the HIV drug dolutegravir by leveraging their patent monopoly to force the countries to purchase the GSK-branded version of the drug at a much higher cost. AHF has worked closely with civil society partners to address these abuses.

In a big win for HIV treatment access advocates, Colombia recently issued a compulsory license on dolutegravir, which will allow it to treat as many as 27 people with generics for the cost of one branded regimen.

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