Americans have overwhelmingly supported action by Congress to lower Big Pharma’s drug prices for years, and now – if signed into law – patients could finally begin to get some relief from the sticker shock of skyrocketing drug prices. Four CAPD supported bills, which aim to curtail the anticompetitive tactics drug companies use to keep list prices high, recently passed the House Judiciary Committee. The four bills are:
- The Affordable Prescriptions for Patients Through Promoting Competition Act (H.R. 2873/S.1473) would limit brand drug companies’ ability to use product hopping, where drug companies make minor changes to a brand drug to extend its monopoly power;
- The Stop Stalling Access to Affordable Medicines Act (H.R. 2883) would limit the abuse of citizen petitions, an FDA process that is sometimes misused to delay the approval of generic drug competition;
- The Affordable Prescriptions for Patients Through Improvements for Patent Litigation Act (H.R. 2884) would simplify and improve the process to resolve patent infringement disputes between brand and generic manufacturers, another issue that can delay or prevent generic market entry; and,
- The Preserve Access to Affordable Generics and Biosimilars Act (H.R. 2891) would prevent the use of pay-for-delay agreements, where drug companies pay generic and biosimilar drug manufacturers to keep generics drugs off the market – a practice that the FTC has repeatedly called anticompetitive.
Though these proposals haven’t grabbed national news headlines, closing loopholes and removing the roadblocks preventing more affordable generics from fair market access could save U.S. patients, government health care programs, and the health care system billions of dollars.
Incremental policy changes add up fast for patients seeking financial relief from high and rising drug prices. Research supported by CAPD has shown just five examples of product hopping cost patients and the U.S. health care system $4.7 billion annually. Taken together, the cumulative effect of big drug companies’ anticompetitive gamesmanship is even more damaging to patients and the health care system. Other research supported by CAPD has shown that delaying the entry of affordable, generic drugs into the market costs U.S. patients and the health care system an estimated $31.7 billion.
As Congress continues negotiating Democrats’ Build Back Better agenda, these four bipartisan bills would deliver affordable, generic alternatives to expensive drugs – and save millions of Americans hundreds of dollars per month.
CAPD thanks the House Judiciary Committee for passing these bipartisan bills and calls on all Members of Congress to come together to pass them immediately.