HELP Committee Approves Protection For High Tech Drug Companies From Generics
"Senators agreed Monday to give high-tech biologic drugs 12 years of market protection before generic versions can compete," according to The Associated Press.
The AP reports: "The vote in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee was a victory for the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries but a defeat for the Obama administration and AARP. The Obama administration had pushed for a seven-year exclusivity period so that patients could get quicker access to cheaper versions of costly medicines used to treat ailments including cancer, Parkinson's, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. Proponents of the longer time frame say products like the blockbuster cancer drug Avastin deserve longer market protection because they are more expensive and time-consuming to produce than regular drugs, and the extra time and money is needed to attract investors and promote innovation. ... The decision would still need agreement from the full Senate and the House, where Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., strongly supporters a shorter exclusivity period."
The AP notes: "Biotech drugs currently don't face generic competition because the Food and Drug Administration doesn't have power to approve copies of such medications. Efforts to change that have been held up for nearly a decade by squabbling between the biotech and generic drug industries and their allies on Capitol Hill" (Werner, 7/14).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.