Epilepsy Foundation and More Than 100 Advocacy Groups Urge Congress to Strengthen Patent System and Protect Patients

Letter to Senate and House Judiciary Committees Outlines the Importance of a Patent System That Encourages Innovation
Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Epilepsy Foundation, along with more than 100 advocacy organizations, urged Chairman Chuck Grassley and Ranking Member Patrick J. Leahy of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Chairman Bob Goodlatte and Ranking Member John Conyers of the House Judiciary Committee to address concerns with the proposed Innovation Act (H.R. 9). In the letter, the groups ask the Senate and House Judiciary Committees to address current abuses in the patent system that endanger investment into new and lifesaving medical therapies for their patient communities.

“As Congress weighs reforms to the patent system, it is important that they bear in mind the patients whose medical needs are not being met by existing therapies,” said Phil Gattone, president and CEO of the Epilepsy Foundation. “Currently, the Innovation Act falls short of protecting investments in medical research and future treatments, which will ultimately have a deleterious impact on the many Americans living with chronic conditions. A patent system that encourages and fosters innovation is especially important to the one-third of people living with epilepsy who currently do not have control over their seizures and are awaiting new medical breakthroughs to attain a higher quality of life.”

In the letter, advocates highlight that the Innovation Act does little to address current abuses in the Inter Partes Review (IPR) process that threaten the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act (commonly referred to as the Hatch-Waxman Act) and the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act (BPCIA).  The letter states, “Congress never intended for the IPR proceedings to undermine the patent dispute resolution frameworks in Hatch-Waxman and BPCIA. We urge Congress to include language in H.R. 9 that would preserve the highly-detailed and sophisticated systems designed by Hatch-Waxman and BPCIA to avoid weakening the patents that sustain medical research. Strong patents will ensure that innovative ideas make it from the lab to the people who need them most.”

This letter is the latest step taken by the Epilepsy Foundation to advocate for a stronger patent system that leads to new cures and treatments options for patients. Gattone also urged Congress to establish a patent system that will promote the future of medical breakthroughs by protecting those who fund innovative, life-saving research in a recent Newsweek opinion piece.

To learn more and view the letter to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, visit epilepsy.com/patentsforinnovation.


About Epilepsy

When a person has two or more unprovoked seizures, they are considered to have epilepsy. Epilepsy affects nearly 3 million people in the U.S. and 65 million worldwide. This year, another 150,000 people will be diagnosed with epilepsy.

About the Epilepsy Foundation

The Epilepsy Foundation, a national non-profit with nearly 50 affiliated organizations throughout the United States, has led the fight against seizures since 1968. The Foundation is an unwavering ally for individuals and families impacted by epilepsy and seizures. The mission of the Epilepsy Foundation is to stop seizures and sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP), find a cure, and overcome the challenges created by epilepsy through efforts including education, advocacy, and research to accelerate ideas into therapies. The Foundation works to ensure that people with seizures have the opportunity to live their lives to their fullest potential. For additional information, please visit epilepsy.com.

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Contact Name: 
Beatriz Duque Long | Senior Director of Government Relations
Contact Phone: 
(301) 918-3764
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Our Mission

The mission of the Epilepsy Foundation is to lead the fight to overcome the challenges of living with epilepsy and to accelerate therapies to stop seizures, find cures, and save lives.

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