Senate HCR Bill Gratuitously Extends Biologic Monopolies

Senate HCR Bill Gratuitously Extends Biologic Monopolies: Lifts Brand Profits to New Heights At Consumer Expense
Contact: Becky Watt Knight 202-745-5050ARLINGTON, VA, NOVEMBER 19, 2009 - The following is a statement from Generic Pharmaceutical Association (GPhA) President and CEO Kathleen Jaeger on the Biologics Provision of the Senate Health Care Reform proposal introduced yesterday.

"Just when you think the pro-BIO and PhRMA provisions in health care reform couldn't get any more favorable for them, the Senate health care reform bill has further disappointed consumers by adding additional monopoly protection to expensive biologic medicines. Regardless of the motivation, the biologic provision in this bill takes the already egregious and unwarranted 12 years of exclusivity and extends it. The Senate leadership had the opportunity to address the deficiencies of the House HCR bill and to fulfill the Senate HELP Committee's commitment to close down a major loophole known as "evergreening," and deliver a more reasonable biogenerics pathway to consumers, labor, businesses, generic manufacturers and employers. Instead, they have provided further hurdles to access more affordable medicines.

"We have strongly urged Congress to put patients over brand company profits by fixing the generic biologics provisions of HCR. Yet, the relentless and powerful brand industry has managed not only to maintain outrageous and excessive product monopolies - but somehow increase their profits under the Senate HCR bill . As it stands now, the Senate version not only does nothing to increase timely access, but rather it further delays competition from more affordable generic medicines.

"It's an absolute and unequivocal shame that what should be a biogeneric provision designed to expand access to lifesaving medicines and to substantially reduce health care costs - a potential "HCR game changer"...benefits only brand companies. In the name of true health care reform, it is incumbent upon Congress to strip the anti-consumer biologic provision out of health care reform."

GPhA represents the manufacturers and distributors of finished generic pharmaceuticals, manufacturers and distributors of bulk active pharmaceutical chemicals, and suppliers of other goods and services to the generic drug industry. Generics represent 72% of the total prescriptions dispensed in the United States, but only 17% of all dollars spent on prescription drugs. For more information about the industry, visit www.gphaonline.org

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