WASHINGTON, DC—Patients For Affordable Drugs applauded a request led by U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan calling on Congress to investigate Allergan’s outrageous legal maneuver to transfer the patent of a blockbuster drug to the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe and maintain its monopoly. The anti-competitive and unprecedented legal dodge by the international drug corporation thwarts the will of Congress and keeps drug prices high for patients.
“The Senate Judiciary committee should immediately investigate Allergan’s sham patent transfer. We’ve heard from patients who are sacrificing food to afford Restasis,” said David Mitchell, who is battling blood cancer and is President of Patients For Affordable Drugs.” “Patients have reached out to us because they’re paying more than $1,200 for a three-month supply and are angry at the lack of a generic option. Something needs to be done, and we are grateful for Senator Hassan’s leadership on this issue.”
Restasis is a blockbuster dry-eye drug for which there is no generic. The Dublin, Ireland-based pharmaceutical company announced on Sept. 8 it had transferred the ownership of its patents for its top-selling eye drops to the Saint Regis Mowhawk Tribe in order to take advantage of its sovereign legal status. The first-of-its-kind deal circumvents a Congressionally-established patent review process and opens the door for other pharmaceutical companies to extend monopolies on life-saving medicines.
On September 13, Patients For Affordable Drugs sent a letter to PhRMA President and CEO Stephen J. Ubl requesting the trade association immediately disavow Allergan’s disgusting legal ploy to transfer corporate patents to tribal governments in order to circumvent the law. Allergan’s spurious move blatantly thwarts U.S. patent law and perpetuates a monopoly that will impact thousands of patients struggling to afford Restasis. The original patent for Restasis’ active ingredient expired in 2014.