Bloomberg seeks to limit drug patent protection: Campaign update

Mark Niquette

Democratic presidential Michael Bloomberg would seek to reduce the cost of prescription drugs with a plan that includes limiting new brand-name drugs to a single patent to get lower-priced generics to the market faster.

There have been unsuccessful efforts to limit so-called “evergreening,” or obtaining multiple patents to extend exclusivity in the past. But the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate said he would work with Congress to ensure only qualifying products get 20-year patent protection to stop manufacturers from slowing the introduction of generics.

Democratic presidential candidate former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks to reporters after a campaign event, Monday, Jan. 27, 2020, in Burlington, Vt.

Bloomberg is also proposing capping out-of-pocket drug spending for Medicare beneficiaries at $2,000 a year in addition to steps other Democratic presidential candidates have proposed, including authorizing Medicare to negotiate drug prices and allowing Americans to buy medicine from other countries with adequate quality control.

Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.

Trump to Flood Iowa with Big Name Supporters (11:56 a.m.)

President Donald Trump’s campaign plans to flood Iowa with Cabinet secretaries, lawmakers and senior White House officials for the state’s first-in-the-nation caucuses next week, in a show of strength designed to kick off his re-election bid.

President Donald Trump speaks before signing an executive order in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Monday, March 13, 2017.  Listening from left are Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Small Business Administration Administrator Linda McMahon, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, Vice President Mike Pence, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross.

The president has no serious challenge in the Iowa Republican contest, with one-term Illinois congressman Joe Walsh and former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld the only other Republicans seeking the party’s nomination. Still, his campaign has sought to capitalize on the attention being paid to the Democratic nominating contest, and the president himself will travel to Des Moines on Thursday for a political rally.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos are among those expected to appear on the president’s behalf, rallying support from Republican caucus-goers. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, and Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie are also among the dozens of surrogates expected to attend.

“Our Caucus Day operation is just a preview of what is to come,” Brad Parscale, Trump’s campaign manager, said in a statement. “We are putting the Democrats on notice – good luck trying to keep up with this formidable re-election machine.”

Other surrogates expected to appear in Iowa include My Pillow Inc. chief executive Mike Lindell and Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz, who was disappointed to have been left off Trump’s impeachment defense team. – Justin Sink