Innovation Asset Blog

Patent system becoming scapegoat of cancer drug shortages

As prescription drugs from major manufacturers like Pfizer and Merck prepare to come off patent, stakeholders on all sides of the healthcare community are coming to understand the relationship between intellectual property and the economics of the industry. However, following the release of a new survey detailing a critical shortage of cancer drugs in American hospitals, a variety of misunderstandings have converged to make the patent system an undeserving scapegoat for the issues at hand.

The study, conducted last month by researcher from MDLinx, discovered that approximately 90 percent of U.S. oncologists are experiencing shortages of "key cancer drugs" within their practices. As a result, the majority of doctors indicated that they have been forced to ration medications out of alignment with optimal treatment procedures.

As patent system skeptics have emerged to suggest that outmoded regulations are forcing drug manufacturers to make unfortunate decisions between innovation and affordable care, IP Watchdog founder Gene Quinn recently stepped in to sort fact from fiction.

After conducting an initial patent search, Quinn discovered that duxorubicin - one of the cancer-fighting drugs in short supply - was actually related to 50,000 active patents. In fact, one rights holder recently filed a back order to account for its inability to satisfy surging demand for services.

According to Quinn, such success would likely not be possible without patent protections allowing the manufacturer to generate adequate revenue from its less impactful drugs to be allocated toward the research and development processes that yield "blockbuster" medications.

Peter Ackerman

Peter Ackerman

Founder & CEO, Innovation Asset Group, Inc.