The DEA and other government organizations are striving to stop the flow of drugs entering the United States, but drug trafficking activities are still evolving. Organizations, for instance, now use social media platforms and encrypted technology to communicate during drug shipments and find new members for their groups
Drug crime lawyers specialize in defending individuals and organizations charged with drug-related offenses. Possession, distribution, trafficking, and manufacturing of illegal drugs may be dealt with by them. They also work to negotiate plea bargains, litigate in court, and advocate for their clients’ rights and interests. They may also work on appeals or post-conviction relief for clients who have been convicted of drug crimes.
The DEA claims that when drug shipments are brought into the country in kilogram- or pound-sized blocks, they are typically transferred to an apartment or home where someone in charge of bagging them breaks them down into smaller portions using blenders, coffee grinders, food processors, or diluents. To bulk up, improve, or simulate a pharmacological action, adulterants like sweets, caffeine, quinine, paracetamol, procaine, and, more recently, fentanyl and acetyl fentanyl are added to medications when they are repackaged and then marketed. Fentanyl is most commonly incorporated into heroin and can also be found in phony prescription medications. The majority of the time, these contaminants are introduced to pharmaceuticals without the user’s knowledge, which can cause an overdose and other harmful health effects.
Not all of these contaminated medications are sold on the open market. Some individuals looking for cheap prescriptions online may unwittingly purchase fake drugs with far more potent and riskier substances than expected.
Of late, more potent synthetic narcotics are available on the market, frequently marketed as heroin or other substances. Public safety has been seriously threatened by incidents utilizing carfentanil, a synthetic opioid with 10,000 times the strength of morphine. Another risky substance on the market is the synthetic designer drug, U-47700, sometimes known as “pink.” Pink’s effects resemble those of other opioids like heroin, and in 2016 it was blamed for 46 recorded deaths, necessitating urgent temporary scheduling by the DEA.
How Long Is a Drug’s Patent Good for?
A drug’s patent is valid for 20 years following its discovery. After testing brings the drug to market, this period is typically cut in half to 10 years.
Several years following the submission of the patent application, patents are frequently granted. Contrary to popular belief, the patent starts once the drug is commercially available. However, even before a drug is made accessible to the general public, the patent guards against imitation drugs from rivals in the pharmaceutical sector.
The American Food and Drug Administration and Drug Patents
Although a drug’s patent is valid for 20 years after its discovery, it may take a pharmaceutical company up to eight years to conduct sufficient testing to obtain the FDA’s and investors’ approval. This is so that the FDA can continue requesting additional studies and trials that detail the adverse effects on and positive benefits to human patients.
Aiming to extend the 20 years and prevent generic competitors from manufacturing the same drug, many major pharmaceutical companies seek multiple patents on the same drug due to the considerable amount of testing that goes into a drug patent. After a patent expires and a generic version of the drug enters the market, name-brand sales are predicted to fall by 80%.
However, major pharmaceutical firms are equipped to deal with rival pharmaceutical firms. The FDA must order a 30-month hold on approving a generic drug when a pharmaceutical company sues the drug maker. Generic medication producers then bring legal actions to invalidate these additional patents. This is how the brand-name vs. generic medication manufacturer carousel operates in a courtroom.
Patent Expiration and Generic Medications
A new drug is initially distributed to patients by pharmaceutical companies under a single brand name. Almost always, a patent is used to ensure that only the firm holding the invention is permitted to produce, market, and profit from the drug.
Since a drug’s patent only lasts 20 years, manufacturers of branded medications move quickly to capitalize on its creation. This period usually lasts between 7 and 12 years after FDA clearance. The generic drug businesses enter the picture once the patent expires. However, manufacturers of generic medications are required to create a substance that is exactly like the original medicine.
When it comes to producing generic drugs, generic drug companies must also adhere to the following regulations:
- The initial patent must have run out of time.
- The patents must not have been violated, be void, or otherwise be unenforceable, according to a certification from the original maker.
- There have never been any prior patents on the medication or in nations without a legal requirement to protect the drug.
Offering generic medications removes the patent-holding company’s exclusivity, promotes competition, and results in lower prescription prices. This enables those who require the drug to choose which medication is appropriate for their symptoms and price range.
But this isn’t the entire tale. Some big-name pharmaceutical firms are continually developing new, dramatically altered versions of the original medication. This prevents the competitors from creating a generic version, even if it could necessitate another patent application and clinical trials unless the FDA believes the original is of the same quality as the new drug.
Role of a Criminal Lawyer
Criminal defense attorneys have many duties to guarantee that their clients are handled fairly and following the law. They should be well-versed in the law and know when and how to conduct legal research. To develop a case, they must be skilled detectives, interviewees, and strategists. Criminal attorneys can bargain with the prosecution to have the charges reduced. Thus they must be skilled negotiators. Additionally, they are in order of submitting motions, such as those to dismiss or suppress. In a situation that is frequently highly stressful, they serve as an advocate for their clients.
A competent criminal defense attorney is skilled at oral and written argumentation. They are accountable for compiling a thorough defense supported by facts and strictly adhering to the law.