Bipartisan bill will remove roadblocks to more generic prescription drugs entering the market
U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) today introduced the Lower PRICED Drugs Act (Lower Prices with Increased Competition and Efficient Economic Development of Drugs), which would help lower the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs by increasing competition from generic drugs, resulting in dramatic savings for consumers, manufacturers, businesses, and taxpayers. The bill is also sponsored by U.S. Senator Trent Lott (R-MS).
"We need to stop drug companies from using patent loopholes to keep lower priced generics off the shelf and out of patients' hands," said Stabenow. "Making generics more available will increase competition and lower costs, which is good for everyone. Americans deserve the best prices possible for medicine that is critical to their health or even their lives."
Of the 25 top selling drugs in 2004, the only one that did not increase in price was a drug available both in generic and over-the-counter form. And according to the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, while the average retail price for a brand drug in 2005 was $101.71, the average retail price for a generic was $29.82.
The Lower PRICED Drugs Act would increase competition and lower prices for prescription drugs by closing loopholes that delay and prevent generics from coming to market. These common sense changes to current law will help ease the burden on America's seniors by taking tools for delaying the introduction of generics out of the hands of drug companies.
First, the Lower PRICED Drugs Act would reform and strengthen rules to improve the information we have about the use of prescription drugs in children and help get generic drugs to market more quickly. It would also reform the citizen petition process so that petitions aren't used solely as a means of delaying the entry of generics into the market. The Stabenow-Lott bill would also expand the list of antibiotics available by eliminating a loophole that rules out generic version eligibility for many of these essential drugs. And finally, the bill would close a loophole that allows drug companies to use the current complex rules for challenging drug patents as a delaying tactic against the introduction of generics.
"Putting the needs of patients first and responsibly opening the market to more generics is an important step toward lowering costs and increasing accessibility to many life-saving prescription drugs," said Stabenow.
AARP, AFL-CIO, Alliance for Retired Americans, California Public Employees' Retirement System, Coalition for a Competitive Pharmaceutical Market, DaimlerChrysler Corporation, Families USA, Ford Motor Company, General Motors Corporation, Generic Pharmaceutical Association, National Association of Chain Drug Stores, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, and United Auto Workers all support the Stabenow-Lott bill and agree that closing these loopholes is the right thing to do.