- Deborah Josefson
The US Senate is considering a bill to close a loophole in the drug patent laws that has enabled drugs companies to get easy and frequent extensions of 30 months to their patents.
The hotly debated new Greater Access to Pharmaceuticals Bill, also known as the McCain-Schumer bill after the senators who sponsored it, seeks to reform an earlier law, the Waxman-Hatch Act of 1984. This law sought to foster price competition while preserving patent rights.
The Waxman-Hatch Act allows manufacturers to file applications for generic equivalents …