Supreme Court may give drugmakers power to challenge Big Pharma patents

As we’ve discussed here a number of times, the FDA has long allowed Big Pharma to play games in protecting its brand-name drugs against generic competition.

Basically, pharmaceutical companies waste their R&D resources (which theoretically could be directed toward the public good) trying to figure out little ways to tweak their existing drugs just enough to get new patents for them. Often these changes involve “tweaking” a molecule.

Let’s be very clear here: This practice is not about helping people or solving health problems; it’s about money, pure and simple — public welfare be damned.

So a Supreme Court ruling making it tougher for companies to protect product monopolies through bogus innovation is good news. Reports CNN:

The waves from a Supreme Court decision that undermines patents on gas pedals could hit Big Pharma like a truck, say some experts…

The Supreme Court ruled that a patent held by Teleflex Inc. combined two previously existing inventions: an adjustable pedal and a electronic throttle control. The combined product was too “obvious” to be considered a new patent, according to the ruling.

“Granting patent protection to advances that would occur in the ordinary course without real innovation retards progress and may, for patents combining previously known elements, deprive prior inventions of their value or utility,” read the ruling.

Sadly, we’re less than optimistic that this ruling will force Big Pharma to change its morally bankrupt ways. We’ve seen time and again how good ideas and needed reforms are washed away by the flood of Big Pharma money in Washington.

Nevertheless, we’ll cross our fingers.

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