US challenges ‘bogus’ patents on Ozempic and other drugs in effort to spur competition

Apr 30, 2024, 10:03 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal regulators are challenging patents on 20 brand name drugs, including the blockbuster weight-loss injection Ozempic, in the latest action by the Biden administration targeting industry practices that drive up pharmaceutical prices.

The Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday sent warning letters to 10 drugmakers, taking issue with patents on popular drugs for weight loss, diabetes, asthma and other reparatory conditions. The letters allege that certain patents filed by Novo Nordisk, GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca and seven other companies are inaccurate or misleading.

Brand-name drugmakers use patents to protect their medicines and stave off cheaper, generic medicines. Most blockbuster drugs are protected by dozens of patents covering various ingredients, manufacturing processes and intellectual property. Generic drugmakers can only launch their own cheaper versions if the patents have expired or are successfully challenged in court.

“By filing bogus patent listings, pharma companies block competition and inflate the cost of prescription drugs, forcing Americans to pay sky-high prices for medicines they rely on,” said FTC Chair Lina Khan, in a statement.

Ozempic is part of a class of drugs that were originally developed to treat diabetes but which have recently been approved to treat obesity, generating a surge in prescribing. Medicare spending on the drugs has also spiked in recent years.

The drug’s manufacturer, Novo Nordisk, declined to comment.

FTC’s latest announcement follows a similar action in September when regulators challenged more than 100 patents held by drugmakers, including Abbvie, AstraZeneca and Boehringer Ingelheim.

Companies receiving the letters have 30 days to withdraw or update their patent listings, or “certify under penalty of perjury” that they are legitimate, according to the FTC. The patents are registered with the Food and Drug Administration, which reviews and approves new drugs.

The patent challenges are part of a strategy by President Joe Biden to bring down drug prices, including allowing Medicare to negotiate with drugmakers and permitting states like Florida to import cheaper drugs from other countries.


The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

United States News


Associated Press

Nissan warns owners of older vehicles about risk of exploding air bag inflators

Nissan is urging the owners of about 84,000 older vehicles to stop driving them because their Takata air bag inflators have an increased risk of exploding in a crash and hurling dangerous metal fragments.

8 minutes ago

Associated Press

Seattle police chief dismissed from top job amid discrimination, harassment lawsuits

SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle’s embattled police chief has been dismissed, Mayor Bruce Harrel said Wednesday. Harrell said at a news conference that he met with Police Chief Adrian Diaz on Tuesday and they agreed Diaz should step down. He will work on special assignments for the mayor with the police department, Harrell said. Diaz’s departure […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Disneyland performers’ vote to unionize is certified by federal labor officials

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Character and parade performers at Disneyland in California are officially unionized. Federal labor officials said Wednesday that they’ve certified the results of a three-day election that took place earlier this month in Anaheim. Actors’ Equity Association will represent roughly 1,700 performers and assistants who help bring Disney’s popular characters to life […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Massachusetts fugitive dubbed the ‘bad breath rapist’ captured in California after 16 years at large

DANVILLE, Calif. (AP) — A fugitive dubbed the “bad breath rapist” has been arrested in the San Francisco Bay Area more than 16 years after he fled following his conviction for sexually assaulting a coworker in Massachusetts, authorities said this week. Tuen Kit Lee was found guilty at a 2007 trial of the kidnapping and […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

West Virginia’s first ombudsman for state’s heavily burdened foster care system resigns

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The first ombudsman of West Virginia’s heavily burdened foster care system has resigned. Pamela Woodman-Kaehler’s resignation will take effect June 6, the state Department of Health announced in a statement. Woodman-Kaehler said she was “choosing to pursue a new opportunity,” but did not provide more details. Woodman-Kaehler said the ombudsman’s program […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Ohio man gets probation after pleading guilty to threatening North Caroilna legislator

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — An Ohio man received supervised probation after pleading guilty to threatening to kill a North Carolina state senator in a social media message last year. Nicolas Alan Daniels, of West Portsmouth, Ohio, entered a plea to one felony count of threatening a legislative officer last Thursday in Wake County court, according […]

5 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.


Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

US challenges ‘bogus’ patents on Ozempic and other drugs in effort to spur competition