Senators Al Franken, D-Minnesota, and David Vitter, R-Louisiana, have cosponsored legislation to fight pay for delay, as have their colleagues Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota. That kind of bipartisan cooperation will be needed to close the loopholes in Hatch-Waxman, especially if the Supreme Court sides with the drug makers.
Brand-name drug makers should certainly be able to protect their patents for a reasonable amount of time. Their innovations and discoveries save lives, and at the very least make day-to-day living easier and more comfortable. The companies spend millions of dollars in research, development and testing before a drug comes to market. Often, that research doesn’t pay off, and that increases the cost of successful drugs. It is a fair trade for innovation.
It is not fair, however, for brand-name and generic companies to collude to keep prices artificially high. Pay for delay deals aren’t about research or innovation. They are about profit – money taken directly from ailing consumers who have no choice but to pay or suffer.