Pharmaceutical Opportunism. (Up Front: News and Opinion from Independent Minds)

By Gajewski, Karen Ann | The Humanist, September-October 2002 | Go to article overview

Pharmaceutical Opportunism. (Up Front: News and Opinion from Independent Minds)


Gajewski, Karen Ann, The Humanist


There are more corporate scandals than meet the eye. The headlines continue to scream about Enron, WorldCom, and Adelphia, and speculation mounts over investigations into Halburton, AOL/Time Warner, and other megacorporations. Now comes a thirty-two state lawsuit against Bristol Meyers-Squibb for allegedly violating federal and state antitrust laws by fraudulently securing patents for the anti-cancer drug Taxol and illegally manipulating regulatory and judicial proceedings.

The complaint filed June 4, 2002, claims that Bristol "repeatedly and deliberately misrepresented and concealed" the scientific research on Taxol to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, "thereby fraudulently obtaining two patents on methods of administering the drug." Then, knowing the courts had declared the patents invalid, Bristol misrepresented them in proceedings before the Federal Drug Administration to delay regulatory approval for competitors seeking to market generic versions--and then sued their competitors, charging them with patent infringement.

Taxol is based on a naturally occurring plant substance--paclitaxel--whose anti-cancer properties were developed through government-funded research. …

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