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U.S. senator slams Allergan patent deal with Native-American tribe

U.S. senator slams Allergan patent deal with Native-American tribe
From Reuters - September 15, 2017

(Reuters) - U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown said on Friday a deal that drugmaker Allergan Plc made with a Native-American tribe to shield patents rips off consumers and cannot become the new normal.

The Ohio Democrat said he will look at how Congress can close loopholes that drug companies exploit to avoid competition.

Browns staff has requested a meeting with Allergan representatives to press them about the transaction.

Allergan said it has reached out to Browns office to provide the facts and context around this agreement with the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe.

Allergan said on Sept. 8 it will transfer patents relating to its dry-eye medicine Restasis to the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, which will exclusively license them back to the company in exchange for ongoing payments.

Allergan said the tribes sovereign status puts the patents beyond the authority of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, an administrative court created in 2011 that can cancel patents.

Companies like Allergan that sell brand-name prescription drugs typically hold several patents that cover the technology behind their medicines.

Rivals need to wait until the patents expire to launch lower-cost generic versions unless they win a court ruling that the patents should not have been granted in the first place.

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