Wyden: Asked and Answered

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  • 03/27/2013

As previously discussed (“Wyden Open Spaces”), Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR.) sent a letter to NIH requesting a list of medicines that have reached the market as result of NIH research since 1995 -- when the agency removed the reasonable pricing clause from cooperative research and development agreements (CRADAs). Wyden also asked NIH to convene a panel to reexamine the pricing of medicines and treatments that are developed with public funding.

He’s made this request before. Maybe he should actually read what the NIH has already said on the matter.  Here it is straight from the NIH’s Office of Technology Transfer:

Requiring direct financial recoupment of the federal investment in biomedical research can potentially impede the development of promising technologies by causing industry to be unwilling to license federally funded technologies. The “reasonable pricing” provisions that NIH once required in all CRADA and exclusive license negotiations did just that. Of even greater concern should be the potential that the economic disincentives of recoupment will make it expedient for industry to move research outside the federal milieu. Such action would diminish the strides made under the Bayh-Dole Act and have the unintended consequence of removing the research from federal oversight, a particular concern when the research involves lines of investigation that are especially critical or sensitive.  

It is impossible to overstate the achievements or the global macroeconomic impact of U.S. taxpayer-supported biomedical research. Federally funded biomedical research, aided by the economic incentives of Bayh-Dole, has created the scientific capital of knowledge that fuels medical and biotechnology development. American taxpayers, whose lives have been improved and extended, have been the beneficiaries of the remarkable medical advances that have come from this enterprise.

Senator Wyden’s misinformed inquiry brings to mind a quote from Robert Louis Stevenson:

“Politics is perhaps the only profession for which no preparation is thought necessary.”


Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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