UPJOHN’s ANSAID PATENT EXTENSION BILL WILL BE CONSIDERED
UPJOHN's ANSAID PATENT EXTENSION BILL WILL BE CONSIDERED by the House Judiciary Committee shortly after the release of a General Accounting Office analysis of the legislation (HR 2255), which is anticipated in early April. The bill, which would extend the patent for the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug flurbiprofen beyond its scheduled February 1993 expiration, is pending in the Judiciary/Intellectual Property Subcommittee. If GAO supports extending the Ansaid patent, a subcommittee or full committee markup could be scheduled by mid-April. If GAO recommends against patent extension, further hearings are likely to be scheduled to provide Upjohn opportunity to rebut the report. Intellectual Property Subcommittee Chairman Hughes (D-N.J.), who held a hearing on the issue last autumn ("The Pink Sheet" Nov. 4, 1991, p. 10), has taken no position on the legislation. Judiciary Committee Chairman Brooks (D-Texas) made a commitment to take action on the legislation after meeting with Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Dingell (D-Mich.) on March 23. Dingell had been considering offering a substitute to legislation reauthorizing the Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Mental Health Administration (HR 3698); the substitute would have included a provision to extend the patent of Ansaid. On March 24, after Brooks met with Dingell, the Michigan Democrat offered HR 3698 without the substitute amendment, and the House passed it by voice vote under suspension of the rules, without debate. Sen. Levin, another Michigan Democrat, attempted a similar procedural tactic late in the last Congress. Levin inserted an Ansaid patent extension provision in the 1990 medical device legislation; the provision was deleted before the Senate passed the device bill. However, there is a key difference between the House and Senate maneuvers: Levin needed unanimous consent for the Senate to accept his addition; Dingell would have required only a two-thirds or greater House majority for passage of his substitute under suspension of the rules. Members of the Judiciary Committees, which have jurisdiction over patent legislation, generally oppose market protection legislation not considered within their committee. Like House subcommittee chairman Hughes, Senate Judiciary/Patents Subcommittee Chairman DeConcini (D-Ariz.) has held a hearing on a Senate Ansaid patent extension bill (S 1165) but neither has endorsed nor opposed the measure. S 1165 was introduced by Sen. Levin and its cosponsors include Sen. Hatch (R-Utah) and Heflin (D-Ala.). HR 2255 was introduced by Rep. Boucher (D-Va.) and has 28 cosponsors.
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