As drug prices have soared, lawmakers and patient advocates have pushed the federal government to deploy for the first time a powerful deterrent: a legal provision that allows it to suspend a drugmaker’s patent and license someone else to produce the drug.
Now, responding to industry alarm over those demands, the Trump administration is proposing to strictly limit the little-known power.
The move by the Department of Commerce is supported by drug manufacturers and research universities but could undermine Trump’s populist message of attacking drug prices. He declared in his first news conference after his inauguration that drug companies are “getting away with murder” and has called lowering prices one of his “greatest priorities.’’
Critics say the Commerce Department move is a triumph for industry.
“If tough talk and tweets could stop price gouging, consumers could celebrate,’’ said Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Tex.), who said the administration is being swayed by drug company influence.