Lawmakers push bill that prevents big pharma from paying generic brands to keep products off shelf

Health

They call it “pay for delay”. A big drug company pays a generic drug company to keep a cheaper generic drug off the market.

The AARP said brand name prescription drugs are on average 18 times more expensive than generics. And it doesn’t just cost us money, it’s a matter of life or death.

Leigh Purvis with AARP said, “There is a concern that people will face the possibility and potentially dying from it.”

Purvis said drug companies pay for delay because it’s not, on the face of it, illegal.

A 2013 supreme court case established that the practice of paying to delay generic drugs could be a violation of antitrust laws–an illegal monopoly.

Related: Connecticut expands lawsuit against Purdue Pharma

AARP said these types of cases are hard to win because drug manufacturers are good at hiding the payments.

Purvis said, “The compensation for the generic manufacturer keeping their product off the market actually applies to a completely separate product.”

Now the House of Representatives is considering several bills to stop “pay for delay”.

The Blocking Act was introduced by Representative Schrader of Oregon and Carter of Georgia, which would allow additional generic drug approvals if the first manufacturer delays.

And a bill by California Representative Anna Eshoo would require immediate publication of every new generic drug approval to increase public pressure for its release.

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