For Immediate Release
Health Care Reform and the Biologics Bill: US PIRG Supports Innovation, Not Monopoly
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."
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U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs), stands up to powerful special interests on behalf of the American public, working to win concrete results for our health and our well-being. With a strong network of researchers, advocates, organizers and students in state capitols across the country, we take on the special interests on issues, such as product safety,political corruption, prescription drugs and voting rights,where these interests stand in the way of reform and progress.