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In a little-noticed move, a Commerce Department unit has proposed a new rule that would prevent the federal government from using a controversial legal provision known as “march-in rights” to combat the high prices of products developed with taxpayer dollars. And if adopted, the change may rob Americans of a tool that could be used to lower prescription drug costs, according to consumer advocates.

Under federal law, a government agency that funds private research — such as the National Institutes of Health — can require a company to license its patent to another party in order to “alleviate health and safety needs which are not being reasonably satisfied.” An agency can also do so when the benefits of a product, such as a medicine, are not available on “reasonable terms.”


The idea is highly contested in the pharmaceutical industry, which argues that march-in rights would chill the willingness among drug makers to work with federal agencies and, subsequently, harm innovation. But the concept has gained traction among consumer groups, as well as some academics and lawmakers in recent years in response to the rising cost of medicines.

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  • The huge issue I have with this marvh in rights concept is we hy shouldn’t it apply uniquely to the drug industry and worse yet yo Gilead’s remedesivir to try to control prices?

    Why won’t it apply to the GPS msnnufacturers to compel 50%,, price cut for their GPS devices? Didn’t the fund mantal technology come from the US Military? What about NCI’s role in cancer research? Won’t it great to be abkev to cut all chemotherapeutic agents and drugs with NCI participation in research by say 25%?

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