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Congress Has Failed (Yet Again) to Close the Martin Shkreli Loophole

Martin Shkreli made headlines by jacking up the price of an off-patent drug and then preventing generic competition. The loophole he abused still hasn’t been closed. Photo courtesy of CARLO ALLEGRI/REUTERS/NewscomPrescription drug companies sometimes use a legal loophole called “restricted distribution” to undermine their generic competitors. The CREATES Act, sponsored by a transpartisan group of senators, would have curtailed the practice, but last week Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) excluded the bill from the budget agreement. As a result, Americans will continue to pay more than they should for certain prescription drugs.

Many Americans are at least vaguely familiar with restricted distribution, thanks to the most infamous pharmaceutical executive to take advantage of it, Martin Shkreli. Shkreli, you may remember, jacked up the price of a drug called Daraprim, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in the 1950s and has been used for decades as a treatment


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