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The pharmaceutical surprise | I Am So Annoyed

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The pharmaceutical surprise

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009   6:32 pm | Author: chris | Health/Medical, Politics/Government |
Tags: , , , ,

Did you ever wonder why it takes so long for generic medications to come to market?

 

It turns out that once patents expire on drugs insurance companies are paying off makers of generic medications to delay releasing the their products.

 

What is the result of this little charade? Original drug manufacturer wins, generic manufacturer wins, consumer loses.

 

Talkingpointsmemo explains how this is done “The vehicle for these deals is patent litigation. When a generic drug is approved to come to market, the maker of the more expensive name-brand drug sues the generic for patent infringement. But instead of a conventional settlement, in which the generic pays the patent-holder to settle the claim that it infringed the patent, the payment goes the other way: the patent-holder pays the maker of the generic, in exchange for a pledge to delay bringing the generic to market. That suggests the patent-holder fears its patent wouldn’t hold up in court, as many don’t. And it runs counter to the intent of the Hatch-Waxman Act of 1984, which sought to speed the path of generics to market, and to provide a legal framework for these cases.”

 

“So common have these deals become lately that they’ve been given a name: pay-for-delay. The approach — a textbook anti-competitive tactic — is worth billions to drug-makers, because it essentially allows them to buy more protection than their patent confers.”

 

“Generics are sometimes priced as much as 80 or 90 percent cheaper than the name brands. For instance, the cholesterol drug Zocor costs $164 a month, while a generic version costs just $12 a month. Pay-for-delay deals will cost consumers an extra $35 billion over the next decade, by keeping those cheaper generics off the market, according to a recent Federal Trade Commission study. And it’s the uninsured, who pay out-of-pocket for drugs, that disproportionately pay those costs.”

 

“Part of the blame lies with the Bush administration. A series of court rulings in 2004 made pay-for-delay much more common, with the result that in 2006 and 2007, nearly half of all deals between generic brand-name drug-makers involved a payment to the generic maker in exchange for a promise to stay out of the marketplace, according to the FTC study. On several occasions, the Bush Justice Department declined to weigh in on the side of consumers by urging the Supreme Court to clarify the law, as it could easily have done.”

 

Congressional action is urgently needed to plug this hole. 

 

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One Comment
  1. Michael Gaedeke Dec 3rd 2009  11:36 pm

    …or the original manufacturer changes the shape, color or ONE ingredient of the medication, and they “renew” the patent for another X amount of years… pathetic

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