There’s a federal law to lower drug prices—and Louisiana may just use itEnlarge / Joel Roth, 65, of San Rafael, California, is a long-suffering Hepatitis C patient who is taking Sovaldi, which costs $1,000 per pill, or $84,000 for a 12-week treatment course. Roth got financial assistance to pay his $11,600 share of the bill. (credit: Getty | MCT)
An obscure federal patent law that has been on the books for more than a century gives the government the power to drag down soaring drug prices, Kaiser Health News reports.
Dr. Rebekah Gee, Louisiana’s health secretary, is trying to rally bipartisan support to use the law—US Code Section 1498 under Title 28—to bring down the staggering prices of patented hepatitis C drugs for the state.

The price of these drugs alone could cripple the state’s budget.
If she’s successful, the legal maneuver could bring down prices for all 50 states—and be used to help reduce the price of other drugs.

But to get there, she’ll not only need state support but a sign-off from the Trump administration.
Birth of a legal remedy
Under the law, written in 1910, the government has the power to intentionally infringe on patents and develop affordable generic drugs for public good.

And this was indeed the intention of the law, according to the House Committee on Patents’ Report that accompanied the bill.
In that report, the lawmakers noted:
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