Issue Date: February 16, 2009
Senate Bill Targets Generic Drug Delays
Legislation introduced in the Senate would prohibit pharmaceutical companies with brand-name medicines from paying makers of generic drugs to delay introduction of the less expensive but equivalent products. “It’s time to stop these drug company pay-for-delay deals that only serve the profits of the companies involved and deny consumers access to affordable generic drugs,” says Sen. Herbert H. Kohl (D-Wis.), the bill’s chief sponsor. “With this legislation (S. 369), we can end a practice seriously impeding generic drug competition—competition that could save American families and taxpayers billions of dollars in health care costs,” Kohl says. The bill would ban so-called reverse payments, in which a drug company holding a patent on a brand-name medicine pays a generics manufacturer to keep its copycat version of the drug off the market. The Federal Trade Commission filed an antitrust lawsuit earlier this month challenging an agreement between Solvay Pharmaceuticals and two generics companies to delay the launch of generic versions of Solvay’s testosterone-replacement therapy AndroGel until 2015 (C&EN, Feb. 9, page 24).
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