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In a bid to address the high cost of prescription drugs, a group of congressional Democrats is urging federal officials to tap a little-known 1910 law that would allow the government to sidestep patents on hepatitis C medicines.

The law resembles eminent domain: the Department of Health and Human Services could use a patented invention without permission, and a drug maker could demand a “reasonable” compensation — such as royalties — but cannot stop the government from taking such a step.


The notion has been floated over the past year as government agencies grapple with rising prices for some medicines. Last year, for instance, the Louisiana health secretary publicly considered asking HHS to sidestep hepatitis C drug patents in hopes that lower-cost generics could be manufactured.

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  • This is a slippery slope. These drugs cure Hep C, something thought impossible one generation ago.

    They will go generic in a few years just like the $4 prescriptions for hundreds of “innovative” cardiovascular drugs of a generation ago.

    There is no free ride on innovation.

  • I had surgery and I was allowed twenty-five pain pills under this new medication guideline. Now, imagine someone being cut open from about half way down their leg into the foot, and taking one pain pill every eight hours as prescribed on the bottle to spread out the time prescribing ratio to limit the amount of pills taken? Do you hear me? Do the math! There was no way I could wait eight hours to take my next pill. No one could. So I had to wait until I could get my next refill. Then, I couldn’t get another refill, and I had to go through the hardest part which was at times more painful then recovering from surgery itself which is physical therapy for two months after. This was horribly thought out, and it is hurting people! Not helping! Some body step in and change this so called prescription change! you think you have a crises now? Wait until the streets are full of pushers, and people just get worse with heroin.

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