(Dmytro “Henry” Aleksandrov, Headline USA) The Biden administration proposed a new rule that would allow federal authorities to seize the patents of expensive drugs that were developed by using money from the taxpayers and to let third parties use those patents to make the drugs cheaper.
On Dec. 7, 2023, the National Institute of Standards and Technology [NIST], an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, published a set of draft guidelines for government agencies to evaluate when it might be appropriate to invoke “march-in” rights under the Bayh-Dole Act, the Epoch Times reported.
The government is granted the authority by the Bayh-Dole Act to suspend the patents of products or inventions that were developed with federal funding if those products or inventions are not made available to people.
The new proposed guidelines were meant to modify the Bayh-Dole Act to make high price alone (of a product or invention developed by using the money of the taxpayers) a sufficient condition to trigger the government’s exercise of the act’s march-in provisions.
The march-in provisions — which had never been invoked in the past — would let authorities seize the patents of drugs that were deemed too expensive (when offered for sale by the original patent holder) and grant licenses to third parties to produce those drugs to sell them for a lower price.
“We’ll make it clear that when drug companies won’t sell taxpayer-funded drugs at reasonable prices, we will be prepared to allow other companies to provide those drugs for less,” White House adviser Lael Brainard said.
The draft was published in the Federal Register on Dec. 8, 2023, and was being subjected to a 60-day public comment period.
Joe Biden hailed the draft proposal as a way to rein in “Big Pharma price gouging.” On the other hand, the main pharmaceutical industry trade group, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, said that American patients would not gain anything because government-funded research would just sit “on a shelf, not benefiting anyone.”