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AARP to Congress: Improve Patent Process for Medicines, Health Technology

Female scientist analyzing medical sample in test tube. Young researcher is wearing lab coat. She is concentrating while working in laboratory.
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En español | We sent a letter to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee last week urging them to support a bill that would help federal regulators share information as they review patents for certain medicines and medical technologies. The bill would create a task force to improve communication between the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), on issues like patents for drugs, biological products and medical technology.

“Overall, this bill would cut down on unnecessary bureaucracy between these two agencies in a way that ultimately benefits consumers,” Bill Sweeney, senior vice president for government affairs at AARP, wrote in the letter.

Sweeney noted that the bill would help improve older adults’ access to new drugs and medicines without sacrificing their safety and review process. The average Medicare Part D recipient takes between four and five prescriptions, so access to new and affordable products is vital to their overall wellbeing. Separately, AARP is urging lawmakers to pass a prescription drug overhaul that would reduce prices by allowing Medicare to negotiate drug costs, capping older adults’ out-of-pocket expenses for drugs in Medicare Part D certain medications and penalize drug companies that raise prices faster than the rate of inflation.

The patent bill would also require the trademark office to share a report detailing its information sharing with the FDA and what information would be useful to it.

Read our letter to lawmakers.

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