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    Senators target pay-for-delay pharma deals

    U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) recently reintroduced legislation that would make it illegal for brand-name drug manufacturers to pay-off other drug manufacturers to keep generic versions of brand-name drugs off the market.

    A 2014 report from the Federal Trade Commission highlighted 29 so-called pay-for-delay agreements involving 21 different brand-name drugs. The agreements keep cheaper versions of the drugs from being available to consumers.

    “Pay-for-delay pharmaceutical deals force consumers to pay higher prices by keeping affordable alternatives to brand-name drugs off the market,” Klobuchar said. “Our legislation will help ensure people have access to the medications they need at a price they can afford by putting an end to these harmful agreements once and for all.”  

    Grassley said congressional action is needed to reverse the trend of brand-name drug manufacturers blocking the release of generics. “The FTC has kept the pressure on, but Congress should act to end these twisted litigation settlements,” Grassley said. [These agreements] they force consumers to pay more for their medicines, and add an exorbitant burden to the deficit.”

    Generics can be as much as 90% cheaper than brand-name drugs. However, pay-for-delay agreements can keep generics versions off the market for 17 months longer than usual, Grassley said.

    Klobuchar and Grassley’s bill, the Preserve Access to Affordable Generics Act, is similar to legislation that did not make it through Congress last year. The pharmaceutical lobby will undoubtedly oppose the Act.

    Mark Lowery, Editor
    Mark Lowery an Editor for Drug Topics magazine.

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