U.S. Pharmaceutical Industry Reveals Its Latest Rent-Seeking Swindle, by Michael Krieger

This pharmaceutical dodge is a classic of legal legerdemain. From Michael Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com:

For as long as I’ve been writing on this website, I’ve argued that the U.S. economy has become little more than a gigantic rent-seeking swindle where much of the wealth being “created” isn’t being created at all. Rather, money is being shuffled around and extracted from the population at large via increasingly elaborate and preposterous schemes. Indeed, it appears much of the nation’s creative energy is being directed at discovering new corporate scams, versus the invention of new goods and services that benefit everyone.

For the latest scheme we turn, unsurprisingly, to the pharmaceutical industry and Allergan in particular. The ploy was revealed by The New York Times last week, and its pretty grotesque.

What follows are excerpts from the article, How to Protect a Drug Patent? Give it to a Native American Tribe:

The drugmaker Allergan announced Friday that it had transferred its patents on a best-selling eye drug to the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe in upstate New York — an unusual gambit to protect the drug from a patent dispute.

Under the deal, which involves the dry-eye drug Restasis, Allergan will pay the tribe $13.75 million. In exchange, the tribe will claim sovereign immunity as grounds to dismiss a patent challenge through a unit of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The tribe will lease the patents back to Allergan, and will receive $15 million in annual royalties as long as the patents remain valid.

The surprising legal move rippled quickly through the pharmaceutical world on Friday, setting off speculation about whether other drug companies would soon follow suit in order to protect their patents from challenges through a patent-review process that the industry despises.

If Allergan succeeds in holding onto its patents, “we will probably see multiple branded companies housing their patents with Indian tribes,” Ronny Gal, an analyst for Bernstein, said in a video message to investors on Friday.

Mr. White said the tribe was approached in April by a Dallas law firm, Shore Chan DePumpo, which proposed the idea. The tribe has already taken ownership of patents owned by a technology company that Mr. White declined to name, but said the Allergan arrangement is the tribe’s first pharmaceutical deal.

To continue reading: U.S. Pharmaceutical Industry Reveals Its Latest Rent-Seeking Swindle

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