Fearing competition from generic biotech drugs, Amgen shelled out $2.4 million last quarter lobbying the federal government. Amylin Pharmaceuticals also spent $540K on the same issue. While a system to approve generic pharmaceuticals has long been in place, no such pathway exists for quickly approving generic biotech drugs. This has been a major boon for biotech companies since they don't have to worry about patent expiration and generic competition the way pharmaceutical companies do.
But with the Obama Administration looking to drastically cut healthcare costs, biotech's virtually generic competition-free golden age may be coming to a close. Drug prices were a major focus for both candidates in the election, and biotech drugs top the charts as some of the most expensive treatments available. Improving the approval process for generic copies of these drugs would be one way to cut those costs--an approach that the new administration will certainly consider.