First Prize, Long Paper, H. Thomas Austern Memorial Writing Competition, 2011.
Government-provided exclusivity periods provide pharmaceutical companies with incentives to invest in new drugs. Meanwhile, encouraging competition serves another worthy goal of improving the affordability of medications. Decades ago, the Hatch-Waxman Act set forth provisions attempting to balance these objectives in the context of small-molecule drugs. Recently, the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act was enacted to meet similar aims in the context of biologic drugs. This article presents a detailed comparison of these two Acts. While the Acts share many global similarities (e.g., providing exclusivity terms and abbreviated approval processes), many differences are also apparent when analyzing details of the provisions. One area of great departure between the Acts is the requirements of how a generic or follow-on applicant must address patents covering a reference product. After describing these differences, the article presents predictions of how reference product sponsors will adapt their patent-prosecution strategies in view of the new Biologics Act.