US Senate considers proposal to tighten drug patent law

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.324.7347.1176/b (Published 11 May 2002)
Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:1176.3

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  1. Deborah Josefson
  1. Nebraska

    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 …

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