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Joe Nocera

Here's How Drug Companies Game the Patent System

Only Congress can rewrite the laws that keep prices high. Ask the judge.
Not a dry eye.

Not a dry eye.

Photographer: Will Russell/Getty Images

The Senate Health Committee held a hearing Tuesday morning about why prescription drugs cost so much and what might done to make them more affordable. According to the committee’s website, the witnesses include a lobbyist for the pharmaceutical industry, a lobbyist for the pharmacy industry and a lobbyist for the pharmacy benefits-management industry.

Might I make a small suggestion? The Republican chairman, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, and the ranking Democrat, Patty Murray of Washington, should begin their next hearing with a reading of the decision issued on Monday by Federal Judge William Bryson in the matter of Allergan, Inc. v Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. et al. Rarely will you find so clear an explanation for why consumers can’t get relief from spiraling drug prices.