Study Shows Drug Patents Can Be Extended For Decades

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The industry practice of extending patent protection on pharmaceuticals by obtaining additional patents on other features of the drug ingredients can lead to decades of delay in generic competition, a new study argues.

The article looked at two key antiretroviral drugs to manage HIV, ritonavir (Norvir) and lopinavir/ritonavir (Kaletra), and identified 108 patents that could delay generics until 2028. That is 12 years after the expiration of the patents on drugs’ base compounds and 39 years after the first patents on ritonavir were filed.

The study, authored by Tahir Amin and Aaron Kesselheim and published in the November edition of Health Affairs, is available here.

The authors said some of the secondary patents were questionable, and called for stricter patentability standards, greater transparency, and more opportunities to challenge patents.

Creative Commons License"Study Shows Drug Patents Can Be Extended For Decades" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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