Trending Healthcare News: Restrictive Patent Guidelines Could Reduce Drug Costs

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Government practices may be allowing drug manufacturers to increase drug prices higher in the United States than anywhere else in the world. Only in the United States are manufacturers allowed to set their prices with no guidance from the government, according to Kaiser Health News. There are also government-made monopolies for drugs that can prevent generics from entering the market and reducing prices.

In nearly half of states, cancer has surpassed heart disease as the leading cause of deaths in the United States. At the start of the century, cancer was the leading cause of death in 2 states, according to the Los Angeles Times. However, heart disease is still the number 1 cause of death nationwide, but that may change soon.

If the United States was more selective about issuing patents to drug manufacturers, it may be able to reduce drug costs. Patents grant manufacturers market exclusivity for up to 12 years, and companies can delay the entrance of generics even further through lawsuits and new patents. If patents were more difficult to get, there would likely be increased competition sooner, according to NPR.