The Senate HELP Committee is gearing up for a full committee hearing tomorrow on the price of COVID vaccines. Due to this and the push from price control proponents, we want to highlight the importance of Intellectual Property Rights. CIFE OPPOSES anti-competitive and anti-innovation policies including march-in rights and Section 1498 as it relates to regulating prices.
Congress passed the Bayh-Dole Act in 1980 to create a framework for federally funded labs to patent and license their discoveries to private firms so that they could continue their research and develop these into commercially useful products. This was a bipartisan effort that paved the way for the federal government to “march-in” under a very specific set of circumstances. The consequences of allowing these “march-in” rights to serve as a mechanism to regulate the prices of products are staggering, resulting a reduced willingness of private sector research partners to enter into licensing agreements and overall diminishing intellectual property.
Section 1498 is not an appropriate means to address drug pricing concerns. Enacted in 1910 to create a way for patent holders to receive “reasonable compensation”, Section 1498 was intended to provide private patent holders recourse for the government violating patent rights. The consequences of using Section 1498 to regulate prices of biopharmaceutical products disregards the intention behind the law and would create uncertainty for all involved WITHOUT guaranteeing lower costs of medications or greater patient access.
CIFE opposes these efforts and hopes the Senate HELP Committee will stand up for STRONG Intellectual Property Rights through supporting competitive and innovation policies.