The Biden administration announced new proposed guidance on Thursday that creates the possibility for the federal government to seize patents from drug companies if their prices are not deemed low enough.

The Department of Commerce and the Health and Human Services Department released a proposed framework for executive agencies that gives guidelines to confiscate patents from pharmaceutical companies if those protected products’ prices are too high and received funding from the federal government, according to an announcement from the White House. The move follows a push by President Joe Biden to decrease drug prices, with the administration releasing a list of 10 drugs in August that will be subject to price negotiations at the threat of up to a 95% tax levied on the companies that do not cooperate.

“Today, the Biden-Harris Administration is announcing new actions to promote competition in health care and support lowering prescription drug costs for American families, including the release of a proposed framework for agencies on the exercise of march-in rights on taxpayer-funded drugs and other inventions, which specifies that price can be a factor in considering whether a drug is accessible to the public,” the release reads.

The Biden administration has, so far, restricted the guidance to only drugs that received taxpayer funding, noting that the industry has received billions of dollars for research and development on new prescription drugs, according to the announcement. The guidance invokes the Bayh-Dole Act, which grants march-in authority to the federal government to license the invention of private companies that received federal funding.

Biden has increasingly used executive power to interfere in the economy, often using the Cold War-era Defense Production Act, which gives the president authority over domestic industries necessary for the national defense. The president has used the act a number of times to promote industries related to the green energy transition, as well as to interfere in the artificial intelligence and rare earth mineral mining sectors.

Biden has been critical of the pharmaceutical industry, blaming high prices on a lack of competition and price gouging, according to a statement on X, formerly Twitter. He pointed to 25 of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the U.S. controlling around 70% of the market.

Just this year, premiums on family health insurance coverage in workplace plans have increased by 7% as of October, while wages only grew by 5.2% in that same time period. The changes follow a bout of inflation that has driven up prices and driven down real wages.

The Commerce Department did not immediately respond to a request to comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Will Kessler on December 7, 2023

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