Thursday, 21 June 2018

Disincentivizing the Use of IPRs and PGRs Against Pharmaceutical and Biologic Patents

Senator Orrin Hatch has introduced legislation designed to curb the use of IPRs and PGRs against pharmaceutical and biologic patents by essentially denying the benefits to generic/biosimilar companies of the Hatch-Waxman Act and the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act.  Allowing the usage of IPRs against pharmaceutical and biologic patents was a serious oversight in enacting the America Invents Act.  Senator Hatch’s Office has released the following information concerning the new Hatch-Waxman Integrity Act of 2018 (which includes a section by section analysis):

In 2012, Congress enacted the America Invents Act to fix a problem unrelated to drug/biologic innovation and drug/biologic affordability; it created the inter partes review (“IPR”) and post-grant review (“PGR”) processes to combat the growing problem of patent trolls.

Even though Congress did not intend to upset its drug/biologic-specific Hatch-Waxman and BPCIA procedures with the enactment of the IPR and PGR processes, generic drug and biosimilars manufacturers have increasingly used the IPR process to circumvent the Hatch-Waxman Act and BPCIA patent challenge processes while nonetheless taking advantage of their abbreviated processes for drug entry.1  Moreover, hedge funds with no interest in manufacturing or marketing drugs have filed IPR challenges against drug patents with the goal of profiting from stock market declines triggered by the IPR filings—a type of market manipulation.

The Hatch-Waxman Integrity Act of 2018 would close the loophole unintentionally created by the America Invents Act. To restore the careful balance of the Hatch-Waxman Act and the BPCIA, and to prevent the IPR or PGR processes from undercutting them, the FD&C Act and the PHS Act would be amended to prevent using IPR (or PGR) challenges to circumvent the specific patent challenge processes for drugs and biologics painstakingly created by Congress. In addition, the federal securities rules would be clarified to indicate that filing IPR patent challenges and profiting from resulting stock price changes is a form of prohibited market manipulation.

The Press Release is available, here.  The text of the proposed legislation is available, here.  [Hat Tip to Professor Dennis Crouch’s Patently Obvious Blog]

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