Bipartisan Legislative Package Introduced to Lower Prescription Drug Costs
Washington, D.C. – During a hearing of the House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee today, lawmakers announced the introduction of a new bipartisan legislative package that will enhance efforts to lower prescription drug costs by taking on anticompetitive practices employed by large pharmaceutical companies.
In a joint statement, U.S. Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman David N. Cicilline (D-RI), Antitrust Subcommittee Ranking Member Ken Buck (R-CO) and Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet Subcommittee Chairman Hank Johnson (D-GA) said:
“American citizens pay more for prescription drugs each year than citizens in any other country in the developed world. One of the chief reasons for this is that big pharmaceutical companies are engaged in a staggering amount of anticompetitive conduct to maintain their monopoly power. The bills we are announcing today will make commonsense reforms to fix what’s broken in the prescription drug market and hold big drug companies accountable for their conduct.”
The bills introduced include:
- The Stop Stalling Access to Affordable Medications Act, introduced by Congressman Jeffries (D-NY), Antitrust Subcommittee Ranking Member Buck (D-CO), Oversight and Reform Chairwoman Maloney (D-NY) and U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Charles Grassley (R-IA), will prohibit pharmaceutical companies from overwhelming the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with meritless “citizen petitions” to block or delay generic competitors. The Act makes it presumptively unlawful for brands to submit sham petitions under certain circumstances and empowers the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to prosecute violations.
- The Preserve Access to Affordable Generics and Biosimilars Act, introduced by Chairman Nadler (D-NY), Antitrust Subcommittee Ranking Member Buck (R-CO), Oversight and Reform Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), and U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Charles Grassley (R-IA). This bill prohibits pharmaceutical companies from entering into anticompetitive pay-for-delay agreements – an arrangement that allows a company to pay the manufacturer of a generic or biosimilar competitor to not bring their product to market. The Act makes it presumptively illegal for brands to enter into such agreements.
- The Affordable Prescriptions for Patients Through Promoting Competition Act, introduced by Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman Cicilline (D-RI), Antitrust Subcommittee Ranking Member Buck (R-CO), Oversight and Reform Chairwoman Maloney (D-NY), and U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and John Cornyn (R-TX), prohibits “product hopping,” an anticompetitive practice where pharmaceutical companies seek to extend their exclusivity on an expiring patent by switching doctors and patients from the old version of the drug to a new version. This practice allows drug manufacturers to artificially extend their monopolies and prevent generic drugs from entering the market, which keeps prescription drug costs high.
- The Affordable Prescriptions for Patients Through Improvements to Patent Litigation, introduced by Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet Chairman Johnson (D-GA), Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet Ranking Member Darrell Issa (R-CA), and U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and John Cornyn (R-TX), helps simplify the process of bringing generic versions of biologics, referred to as “biosimilars,” to the marketplace that should result in lower prices for consumers.
Click here to watch the House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee hearing entitled “Treating the Problem: Addressing Anticompetitive Conduct and Consolidation in Health Care Markets.”