The Initiative for Medicines, Access & Knowledge (I-MAK) has responded to a letter it received from Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) in January asking the organization to address claims that its data on the effects of pharmaceutical patents on drug pricing is faulty. In the letter, I-MAK defended its underlying patent data and, in reference to the question of why the data differs significantly from public sources like the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Orange Book and court filings, explained that “relying on public sources and court filings is not an accurate methodology for identifying all patents on a drug.” I-MAK’s view is that the U.S. patent system creates patent monopolies that lead to the practice of “evergreening”, in which innovator pharmaceutical companies extend their rights beyond the original patent terms, preventing competition from generics, which in turn causes drug prices to remain high. As part of its mission, I-MAK has developed a database of patents covering key drugs. Its reports are often cited by academics, including in law journals, policymakers and in congressional hearings. As a result, I-MAK has become one of the most authoritative sources for information on patents in this space.
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