Thursday, September 28, 2017
As someone who gets to stick a couple drops of Restasis (a dry eye medication) into her eyes twice a day, I was very interested to hear an NPR story about that Allergan (the drug giant responsible for bringing me daily, but expensive, eye relief) has passed their patent along to a Native American tribe.
Allergan is giving the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe $14 million, some royalties and the Restasis patent. Then the Mohawks are leasing the patent back to Restasis so Allergan can avoid losing patent protection. It’s a pretty slick—and apparently legal—way to get around those pesky patent expiration laws based on the fact that the tribe is a sovereign entity.
On the one hand, this means an ongoing revenue stream for tribe members, many of whom live in poverty (though I have no idea how the money will be shared with them). On the other, it blocks generics from the marketplace. Clearly the biggest overall winner is Allergan (who will be protecting an annual revenue stream worth $1.5 billion).
Just another example of big pharma sticking it to the consumer? Or a great way for Native American tribes to have a new income stream? I’ll let you be the judge.
Read the whole story here.