The FTC Is Attacking Drugmakers’ ‘Patent Thickets’

The Federal Trade Commission is contesting the legitimacy of over 100 patents for drug delivery devices such as inhalers and autoinjectors in an effort to stimulate competition and possibly reduce drug prices. The pharmaceutical industry has often used these patents, preventing competition from offering less expensive generic alternatives. The FTC is trying to challenge these patents to make it easier for generic competitors to enter the market, as pharmaceutical companies have been prolonging drug patent protection by making minor changes to the delivery methods, among other tactics. After receiving warning letters, some drugmakers withdrew their patents, and the agency remains vigilant in scrutinizing other patents that may be invalid.

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