NIH Proposes New Policy To Make Drugs Invented By Government-Funded Scientists More Accessible To Americans By Lowering Cost


Sanders on NIH Proposal to Lower Prices for Taxpayer-Funded Drugs

Editor’s note: The proposed policy by the NIH is currently soliciting suggestions and feedback from scientists, non-profit organizations, pharmaceutical companies, and other industry partners for how to best form the policy in the name of patient access.  

From the NIH’s webpage about this proposal,  “The policy would require organizations partnering with NIH through a patent licensing agreement that succeed in bringing certain products to market to submit a plan outlining steps they intend to take to promote patient access to any resulting drug, biologic, vaccine, or device. NIH seeks input on this draft policy and accompanying draft license agreement language that incorporates patient access in the commercialization process for NIH-owned inventions.

NIH will use the responses to this request for information to develop a final policy. Comments on the proposed policy must be submitted at:  Comments must be received by July 22, 2024.”

WASHINGTON — Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statement on Tuesday after the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) proposed a new policy to require companies that make drugs invented by NIH scientists more accessible:

Let me thank Dr. Monica Bertagnolli for releasing a plan today that will begin to make prescription drugs invented by scientists at the National Institutes of Health more accessible in the United States and throughout the world.

For nearly three decades, the NIH has given away prescription drugs invented by federal scientists to pharmaceutical companies with virtually no strings attached. As a result of this absurd policy, the average price of new medical treatments that NIH scientists helped invent is over $111,000 – including Hemgenix, which costs an astronomical $3.5 million and the cancer therapy Yescarta, which costs $424,000. I hope that today will mark the beginning of the end of that policy and will lead to substantially lower prices for prescription drugs developed at taxpayer expense.

As Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, I look forward to continuing to work with the NIH and the Biden Administration to make sure that Americans no longer pay, by far, the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs, while also making life-saving medicine accessible to patients in low- and middle-income countries across the globe.

Banner Image: Doctors in a hospital. Image Credit – Piron Guillaume


Senator Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders is serving his third term in the U.S. Senate after winning re-election in 2018. His previous 16 years in the House of Representatives make him the longest serving independent member of Congress in American history.

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