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June 19, 2019


As usual, congress making lots of smoke, light and noise but doing the wrong thing. They want lower drug prices? Make FDA approval easier. They want to lessen the likelihood of new drugs? Keep introducing dumb bills like this one, and the one introduced by the fellow from Queens.

“They want lower drug prices? Make FDA approval easier.”

I agree with this. I do not see that the “patent thicket” provisions will do much to make FDA approval easier, and therefore do not expect this part of the bill to achieve the ends that the sponsors claim to want. On the other hand, the “product hopping” provisions likely will make FDA approval easier for many drugs (depending, of course, on how they are enforced). In other words, this bill looks like a mix of one good idea and one bad.

Regrettably, if both of these provisions are passed in a single bill, it will not be possible to discern the pro-competition effects of the “product hopping” provisions from the null effect of the “patent thicket” provisions. Decades of scholars will write articles claiming that the “patent thicket” bill solved the problem of high drug prices, and they will all be nothing more than well footnoted examples of the fallacy post hoc ergo propter hoc.

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