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2020 Projects

The Myth of Evergreening: A Reexamination of Secondary Patenting Of Branded Pharmaceuticals

Mathias Walder ’20
Major: International Political Economy

Mathias Walder ’20

Major: International Political Economy

Faculty Collaborator: Kristina Acri, Economics & Business

This summer research was twofold. Firstly, we focused on the patent landscape for the drug Ritonavir. In response to a 2012 article in HEALTH Affairs on pharmaceutical “Evergreening”, we are documenting which patents protect the drug, when they expire and if generic entry takes place. Significant controversy surrounds later-issuing patents and critics assert that they are an abuse of the patent system, rather than protection for valuable follow-on innovation. In light of this controversy, policymakers have been considering proposals to make significant changes to antitrust law, intellectual property law, and the regulatory framework governing new medicines. However, current scholarship is inconsistent in the description, definition, and legal environment surrounding “Evergreening”. It fails to document a problem or provide empirical evidence of the need for a policy change. Secondly, we focused on converting Distorted Drug Patents (Acri & Lietzan, 2020) into a journal article for submission to an Economics Journal.

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