House Committee on the Judiciary: “The Patent Trial and Appeal Board and the Appointments Clause: Implications of Recent Court Decisions”
Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019: The House Committee on the Judiciary held a hearing on the patent system and implications of recent court decisions on the system.

Why this is important: On Nov. 20, the full committee unanimously approved two bills that aim to stop drug manufacturers from misusing patents. H.R. 5133, the Affordable Prescriptions for Patients Through Promoting Competition Act of 2019, targets product hopping and allows the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to prosecute manufacturers who encourage customers to shift from one drug that is losing market exclusivity to another, similar drug that will have market exclusivity for a longer time. The legislation also allows the FTC to prosecute drug manufacturers for engaging in patent gaming.

H.R. 3991, the Affordable Prescriptions for Patients through Improvements to Patent Litigation Act of 2019, targets patent dancing, which is when a drug manufacturer files many patent claims that do not represent significant changes to fend off biosimilars attempting to enter the market. The two patent bills are not included in the House Democrats’ drug pricing package.

Find more details on the hearing here.

Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions: “Nomination of Stephen M. Hahn, MD, to serve as Commissioner of Food and Drugs”
Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019: The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions held a confirmation hearing for Dr. Stephen Hahn, President Trump’s nominee to be the new Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner. On Nov. 6, Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) released a statement of support for Dr. Stephen Hahn ahead of the hearing. Find more details on the hearing here.

Senate Committee on Finance: “Alzheimer’s Awareness: Barriers to Diagnosis, Treatment and Care Coordination”
Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019: The Senate Committee on Finance, Subcommittee on Health Care held hearing to shed light on the obstacles surrounding Alzheimer’s diagnosis and care.

Why this is important: Witnesses highlighted concerns that include gaps in coverage for patients with Alzheimer’s, burdening costs of long-term care and representation for caregivers. The members of the subcommittee asked for feedback on further federal action that can be taken to address these concerns.

Find more details on the hearing here.



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