October 24, 1995
Dear Senator Dole:
I am writing to express the Consumer Project on Technology's support for the Chaffee/Pryor generic drug amendment to the reconciliation bill. This amendment seeks to correct an error by the previous Congress, which extended the patent terms for several widely used drugs. As you know, investment incentives are forward looking, and actions which award post hoc monopolies on pharmaceutical drugs which are already on the market are economically inefficient. This retroactive extension of monopoly marketing rights is costing American consumers billions of dollars, and should be immediately corrected.
The U.S. Congress and the Clinton Administration have already given the pharmaceutical industry extremely favorable treatment in a wide range of areas, such as the complete lack of price controls on drugs, favorable tax treatment, billions of dollars in direct research subsidies from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other federal agencies, and the recent decision by NIH to abandon the reasonable pricing clause for drugs invented by government scientists. We hope that on this issue Congress will demonstrate concern for the problems faced by consumers in obtaining health care.
cc: Members, U.S. Senate
The Consumer Project on Technology (CPT) was created by Ralph Nader this year to study consumer issues raised by technology. Current CPT projects include a review of the sections of the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT) that deal with intellectual property rights on pharmaceutical drugs, a review of proposed changes to Copyright law on the issue of Fair Use, and a number of telecommunications issues, including open networks, concentration of media outlets, and the pricing of ISDN services. Our home page on the Internet is http://www.cptech.org/cpt.html