Guarding Big Pharma’s Crown Jewel

Issue 09-11-17   |   Reviewer:   J. Vincent Eagan, JD, Ph.D.


AbbVie Inc., the maker of Humira, a biologic treatment for inflammatory diseases, uses a patent thicket strategy to maintain a monopoly over the drug. AbbVie has over 100 patents on Humira, covering manufacturing processes, drug formulation, methods of treatment, and other aspects of the drug.  By filing some of the patents over time, AbbVie has extended its protection of Humira past the twelve years that Congress intended for biologic products. Some drug manufacturers have decided to produce a biosimilar drug anyway. 

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