NYT: Biosimilar bills are neither a threat nor boon

The New York Times' Andrew Pollack has sized up the heated debate over new legislation that will stake out the boundaries for biologic market exclusivity, concluding that the development industry appears to be the odds-on favorite to win a 12-year period free of biosimilar competition. That's quite a bit longer than the five-year window that consumer advocates are pushing.

But, he adds, in the end neither the big savings painted by the AARP and its allies nor the terrible toll on innovation forecast by the developers would be as dramatic as each side claims if Congress finally comes in with a shorter period of market exclusivity. Patents will give biotech companies much longer protection than any of the bills now in circulation, writes the longtime biotech reporter. Genentech's Herceptin, by way of example, has patent protection that reaches out 21 years from its 1998 approval.

And as for the big savings projected by the crowd backing a five-year period, Pollack concludes that consumers wouldn't see anything significant for at least 10 years anyway.

- read the report from the New York Times