Patent News

May. 18, 2015

Morning Consult: Congress Must Protect American Innovators, by John Castellani

This post originally appeared in Morning Consult on May 18, 2015.

John Castellani is president and CEO of PhRMA.

The U.S. patent system is the critical legal shield protecting medical innovations as they make their way from America’s labs to the patients in every state who need, want and deserve them.

Patents are one reason why U.S. HIV/AIDS death rates are down 83 percent from their peak in the early 1990s. They’re why cancer death rates are down 20 percent from their peak, and the five-year survival rate for people with all cancers has soared to 68 percent. They’re why hepatitis C is now curable in more than 90 percent of treated patients.

Patents are the medical industry’s lifeblood, and our reliance on them as an industry is unique. Because while your smartphone might be protected by hundreds or even thousands of patents, the innovative new medicine you or your loved one take for improved health is usually only protected by a handful of them.

That is why our industry is fighting to protect the integrity of the critical patent system, which will ensure patients can continue to benefit from biopharmaceutical innovation.

We have a lot of work to do, and it needs to be done quickly.

In Washington right now, Congress is debating new legislation intended to address abusive practices by so-called patent trolls. While the intent of this legislation is good, certain provisions could have broad, unintended consequences that hurt legitimate patent holders.