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As Senate Investigates Ozempic Manufacturer, Colombia Busts Patent Monopoly on HIV Drug to Lower Prices

Washington, D.C. – Today the New York Times reported that the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee is investigating Novo Nordisk over the high prices of its popular weight loss drugs Ozempic and Wegovy. Meanwhile, the government of Colombia is tackling high drug prices by issuing a compulsory license to overcome patent barriers to HIV treatment and import less expensive generic versions of the HIV medicine dolutegravir without permission from the patent owner, ViiV Healthcare (a joint venture of GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer and Shionogi).

In response, Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines program director Peter Maybarduk released the following statement:

“The news out of Colombia today shows that governments can take on Big Pharma and radically reduce the highly inflated prices of drugs. The compulsory license issued by Colombia is similar to action we’ve been requesting for years from the Biden administration to use its authority to bust patent barriers to lower drug prices. Overriding the patent monopoly to authorize generic competition for Ozempic and other drugs is a power that the administration has under law and, with certain conditions met, can use anytime.

“We urge the administration to take similar action to Colombia and finally use its executive authority to take on the drug industry, and bring prices down for millions of Americans who are struggling to pay their bills.”