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Health Care Reform and the Biologics Bill: US PIRG Supports Innovation, Not Monopoly
WASHINGTON - July 14 - A top, respected consumer group threw its weight behind proposals to speed generic versions of protein-based wonder drugs to market on Tuesday.
In testimony before Congress, U.S. Public Interest Research Group's Health Care Advocate Larry McNeely lauded the effort.
"We need markets that drive innovation, not those that reward monopoly," McNeely said before the House Judiciary Committee's Sub-Committee on Courts and Competition on Tuesday.
The generics industry and public interest advocates support Rep. Henry Waxman's (D-CA) "Access to Life Saving Medicine Act," while the pharmaceutical and biotechnology lobbies have lined up behind a House alternative offered by Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA).
The key difference between the two bills lies in how many years of protection from generic competition brand name biologic manufacturers would get. Eshoo's bill provides 14 years, while Waxman's provides five, the same protection offered to brand name drug manufacturers.
The issue of whether to provide for an expedited review procedure has become one of the interesting subplots of recent debates over health care reform legislation.
The two issues are related, according to McNeely.
"Health reform is about reining in the rising cost of health care. The Waxman biologics bill would lower costs, making these live-saving drugs available to more Americans," McNeely said. "The alternatives would be a bailout to the big biotech firms."