Patent Use by Drug Companies Adds to Opioid Problem

A new patent for an opioid addiction treatment lists Richard Sackler, former chairman of Purdue Pharma, as the inventor, NPR reports.  David Herzberg, a historian who focuses on the opioid epidemic, fears the continuation patent, Patent No. 9861628, will keep treatment prices high and add additional difficulty for addicts trying to receive treatment. General counsel for the subsidiary that holds the patent emailed a statement saying that no product has been developed under this patent, and if one is developed, it will not be commercialized for profit. However, secondary patents, such as these, are a part of strategies often employed by pharmaceutical companies in order to lengthen their monopolies over drugs by blocking competitors. These patent strategies allow the pharmaceutical industry to receive a greater financial return than that of any other industry, according to a patent law expert at Stanford University.

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