PhRMA will back “responsible” drug patent reforms, but lawmakers would do well to remember how essential patent protections are to getting life-saving medicines to patients, one of the group’s executives told a Senate panel.
There were five witnesses at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on drug pricing and patents but most of the attention focused on James Stansel, PhRMA’s executive vice president and general counsel. Stansel found himself walking a fine line—he said PhRMA condemns the patent arbitrage that has horrified the public and supports “responsible” reforms, but he also defended the existing patent system.
“I think it’s important when we talk about innovation that we recognize that it is incremental,” Stansel said. “Additional indications are brought to the forefront but that doesn’t extend the exclusivity.”
Senators from both parties made clear that they’re getting earfuls from constituents about drug prices.