Misuse of March-In Authority Could Jeopardize Progress in Cancer Research and Prove Ineffective in Intent to Lower Prescription Drug Prices

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Issues Letter to Administration Outlining the Risks of MIR Application  

February 6, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  Today, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) issued a letter to the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST) commenting on the utilization of march-in rights (MIR) to lower prescription drug costs following the release of new guidance by the administration on its application.  

In the decades since it was enacted, the Bayh-Dole Act (the Act) has fostered government-industry collaboration by incentivizing researchers with control of intellectual property (IP), while allowing the federal government to “march in” and relicense IP if benefits of the invention are not adequately reaching the American public. To date, no requests for the government to execute march-in rights have met the statutory threshold for lack of public access.  

A statement from Lisa Lacasse, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) follows: 

“Bolstered by the Act, the government-industry research ecosystem has been critical to today’s progress in cancer research by driving our most significant innovations over the last 40 years. We share the Administration’s mission to lower drug costs, and no discovery that could improve public health should sit on a shelf or be inaccessible to the public. Nonetheless, we remain concerned about the effectiveness of utilizing march-in authority as a tool to effectively lower costs and its potential to jeopardize our nation’s impactful public-private partnership.  

“We look forward to continuing to work with Congress and the Administration to meaningfully lower the costs of prescription drugs for the patients we serve by carefully balancing patient affordability and innovation.” 



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