US Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) proposed a new piece of legislation that would eliminate the patent system for new drugs, and would instead award inventors or developers cash prizes, says Pharmalot's Ed Silverman. The bill, called the Medical Innovation Prize Fund Act, would eliminate any barriers to making generic drugs, including vaccines, and would set up an $80 billion annual fund to pay the inventors, Silverman says. Sanders has also proposed a separate $3 billion fund for those who specifically develop drugs to treat HIV and AIDS. According to the bills, the federal government and private health insurance companies would provide the money. Medical Innovation Prize Fund Act adds:
Sanders has tried this before, and has been rebuffed, Silverman says, and it's unclear if the current bill has any support. A poll asking Pharmalot readers if prizes should replace patents is currently leaning heavily — 75 percent — toward no.