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Published on December 01, 2023
UT Austin Legal Wizards Conjure Billions in Savings by Reforming Drug Patent ProcessSource: The University of Texas at Austin

A penny pinched on prescriptions is worth a paradigm shift in patent scrutiny—that's the pill UT Austin legal eagles are prescribing after uncovering potential billion-dollar savings in drug costs. A recent deep dive at The University of Texas at Austin's School of Law, snagging a spotlight in a report, shows a pathway to cheaper medicines by giving patent examiners more grunt work and time to weed out unworthy pharmaceutical patents reported by The University of Texas at Austin.

But here's the kicker: better eye-balling of these secondary patents could translate to "$2.53 billion and $5.28 billion per year" back in consumers' pockets, Melissa Wasserman, a law professor at UT Austin, dropped in the school's announcement. Patent examiners, who currently might give a drug patent application a once-over for a mere 19 hours, are thought to need more than 30—half again as much—to do due diligence, in accordance with The University of Texas at Austin.

With an injection of funding from the National Institutes of Health, the UT Austin team, alongside cohort Michael Frakes from Duke's law corner, are now shifting their gaze to the opaque world of biologics. As these two legal scholars tease out the hows and how-manys of the biologic patent sitch, the big pharma world's watching, and so too are the consumers with bated breath, for earlier access to cheaper knock-off meds called biosimilars—a potentially hefty win for wallets and wellbeing alike.