To help stop cheaper generic drugs from going to market against its top-selling drug Restasis, Allergan recently parked its Restasis patents on the St. Regis Mohawk Indian reservation. If this unique legal trick works to keep Restasis, Allergan’s dry-eye drug, free of generic competitors it could cost American consumers $10.7 billion between now and 2024, according Vizient, a firm that buys drugs for 3,000 U.S. hospitals. With competition the price of Restasis would be $145. Without it, the price would be $539, Vizient estimated.
The Restasis patents are already being challenged by generic rivals but parking the patents with the Indians closes off one avenue for challenging the patents. Four Democratic lawmakers recently asked the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee to investigate the Allergan-Indian deal, calling it an “anti-competitive attempt to … keep drug prices high.”