Patent Law, Property Rights, Free Market Upheld!

By August 3, 2007Health Care, Innovation

The outcome comes as little surprise, given previous court rulings and the shameless politically pandering that motivated the law in the first place. But still, what a nice piece of news buried on page B6 of today’s Washington Post. “D.C. Cannot Control Prescription Drug Prices, Court Rules”

A federal appeals court has struck down a bid by the District to control the price of prescription drugs sold in the city, concluding that the effort to protect D.C. residents from excessively high costs violates federal patent law.

The decision is a blow to consumer advocates and D.C. Council member David A. Catania (I-At Large), who championed the D.C. effort and said it was necessary to keep drugmakers with a monopoly on their patented products from charging inflated prices.

A monopoly on their patents? Ponder that logic, for a moment.

The ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit is available here as a .pdf file. (Errata here.)

From a news release from the Biotech Industry Organization:

I am pleased that the Court of Appeals unanimously affirmed the lower court’s ruling based on the fundamental constitutional flaws of the District of Columbia law,” said Jim Greenwood, president and CEO of BIO. “BIO continues to support providing greater access to innovative therapies. However, this law, like other price control measures, would not have had the intended effect of increasing patient access to drugs. Instead, it would have discouraged the development of new therapies for the diseases which plague us and our loved ones.”

More on this later. The story is informative, albeit written in that odd journalistic structure that implies any filer of a complaint should get first crack at the arguments…even if they stood nary a chance of winning in the court.

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