Obama – Change Pharmaceutical Patent Term to 7 Years
President Obama has proposed changing the length of time patents covering pharmaceuticals are enforceable. His proposal is to change the patent term from 20 years to 7 years. According to Medical News Today, it takes 8 years on average for a new drug to receive FDA approval. Thus, the President’s proposal is to essentially eliminate patent protection for drugs. If this proposal is implemented, the net result will be to kill innovation in the pharmaceutical industry. This will increase the long term cost of medical care. Medicines are inexpensive medical treatment compared to surgical techniques, the main alternative.
This is exactly the wrong course to take in reforming health care. The key to reducing the cost of health care in the long term is to introduce more innovation into the health care industry. Some of the institutions limiting innovation in health care include, the FDA approval process, Diagnostic Related Group billing, absurd lawsuits against drug and vaccine makers, and third party payer systems that substitute the judgment of business people for medical doctors.
If we want to reduce the cost of health care, we need to introduce more innovation into the system not less. Some pro-innovation reforms include changing the legal system so that only true negligence results in liability in the health care industry, overhauling the FDA approval process to reduce the cost and time of introducing a new patent, and reducing the third party payer systems so that consumer choices can spur innovation in health care.
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