In a little-noticed move, a Commerce Department unit has proposed a new rule that would prevent the federal government from using a controversial legal provision known as “march-in rights” to combat the high prices of products developed with taxpayer dollars. And if adopted, the change may rob Americans of a tool that could be used to lower prescription drug costs, according to consumer advocates.

Under federal law, a government agency that funds private research — such as the National Institutes of Health — can require a company to license its patent to another party in order to “alleviate health and safety needs which are not being reasonably satisfied.” An agency can also do so when the benefits of a product, such as a medicine, are not available on “reasonable terms.”

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Source: STATNEWS.COM

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