Maine - Oppose LD 1280 | Council For Citizens Against Government Waste

Maine - Oppose LD 1280

State Action

June 20, 2017

Senator Eric Brakey
3 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0003

Dear Sen. Brakey,

You and your colleagues will soon consider LD 1280, a bill that would violate intellectual property rights by forcing the sale of any drug distributed in the state of Maine to be available for sale to any person seeking to develop an application for the approval of a drug under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act or the licensing of a biological product under the federal Public Health Service Act.  The legislation would establish disciplinary actions for a pharmaceutical company that does not comply.  On behalf of the 9,346 members and supporters of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste in the state of Maine, I ask that you, and your colleagues who care about property rights, to vote against this bill.

An article by Peter Pitts, a former FDA associate commissioner and president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, published in the June 17, 2017 Sun Journal, offers sound criticism of this legislation.  While the supposed intent of the legislation is to allow a generic drug manufacturer to get samples of a brand-name drug to prove to the Food and Drug Administration that the drug they are developing is therapeutically equivalent, the bill is “terribly written.”  The legislation would “enable intellectual property theft” and allow drug companies “to steal and profit from their competitors’ trade secrets.”  While the intent of the bill is to allow more competition, and create more generic drugs, IP theft is certainly not the answer.

Mr. Pitts also points that the legislation would permit brand-name manufacturers to demand samples from their rivals to create a competing product, which would not “technically violate patent protections, but still mooch off the creators’ research.”

It is also very likely that if this legislation should become law, the state of Maine will be sued by pharmaceutical companies, which will not simply let their IP be stolen without a legal challenge.  That would be an unnecessary waste of tax dollars.  The United States government has long fought this outrageous form of intellectual property theft, most often seen in countries such as China and India.

We agree with Mr. Pitts’ conclusion: “It’s admirable that Maine lawmakers are trying to lower patients’ drug bills.  But LD 1280 is the wrong way to do it.  It would discourage research and endanger patients.”  I strongly urge you to oppose this legislation.

Sincerely,

Thomas Schatz

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