Can we eliminate the pharmaceutical side effect of the patent system?

Recently, excitement in the medical scientific arena was followed by media reports about possible advances in treatments that could cure some cancers or at least contain them as chronic non-life-threatening diseases. Although there is a long way to go before it is proven that these treatments can achieve the desired goal, as we all hope, the major “side effect” of such findings will be the rising costs of the treatments. Costs can range from tens of thousands to over hundreds of thousands of dollars a year per patient. As cancer treatments transform the disease to a chronic condition, sustained for many years, the expenditure on such medicines will dramatically increase countries’ health costs. The dilemma already exists today. Every year different patient groups and protesters around the world request funding for the treatment of their respective conditions.

Israeli ruling opens gates

A recent Israeli court ruling awarded against Sanofi for unfairly deterring generic competition by unlawfully pursuing a patent application opens the floodgates to seek damages not only in Israel, but also in other jurisdictions, according to Unipharm, the Israeli generics specialist that won the case.

Unipharrn’s vice-president, Dr Ron Tomer, told Generics bulletin that the findings of the Tel Aviv District Court in the case against Sanofi over Plavix (clopidogrel bisulphate) had reinforced Unipharm’s confidence in pursuing similar complaints in Israel against GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) over Seroxat (paroxetine) and possibly against Pfizer over Viagra (sildenafil).

Prevailing against cost-leader competitors in the pharmaceutical industry

Abstract Development of a new innovative drug is costly and risky, yet offers the company protection against competition and high returns on its investment. Years after, generic products are launched and the price of the drug sharply reduces. In recent years, research-based pharmaceutical companies have deployed a tactic, deployed in consumer products markets such as razors and disposable diapers, to deal with generic competition in shape of introduction of a line-extension product for its older drug. In many cases this newer version does not carry with it enough benefi ts, yet gives the company fresh monopolistic protection against competition. The widespread development of line-extension drugs is replacing the development of new chemical entities. Such a reduction in true innovation slows the stream of new medications fl owing into the market.