A private session at the Milken Institute Future of Health Summit in October 2019 assembled representatives from the patient advocacy community, universities, the legal profession, and the pharmaceutical and biotech industry to discuss public concerns about drug prices. The session focused on the potential use of so-called march-in provisions of the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980 as a lever to lower prices and increase accessibility of therapies. This topic is particularly relevant eight months later, as the scientific community searches for a vaccine or treatment for COVID-19. The urgency to develop vaccines and anti-viral therapeutics for this deadly virus will likely raise questions about incentives (including those related to intellectual property), pricing, and equal access. Policymakers already grappling with how to bolster essential public health and health-care infrastructure and to protect citizens in a cost-effective way will be looking to encourage innovation while providing easy, widespread access to life-saving preventive and therapeutic options.
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