PHARMACY

AAM sends letters to House on HR 987

BY Sandra Levy

The Association for Accessible Medicines has sent two letters to Capitol Hill ahead of House consideration this week of the Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Act”(H.R. 987).

H.R. 987 combines seven bills passed by the House Energy & Commerce Committee – three related to prescription drugs and four related to the Affordable Care Act. AAM’s letters focus only on the three prescription drug proposals – CREATES (H.R. 965), patent settlements (H.R. 1499), and BLOCKING (H.R. 938).

In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, AAM president and CEO Chip Davis said, “The CREATES Act would successfully lower the cost of prescription drugs for patients through increased competition and by stopping the abuse of FDA’s safety programs and non-FDA-mandated closed-distribution systems. With the support of more than 90 organizations, this bipartisan, market-based solution will reduce spending on prescription drugs by an estimated $13.4 billion each year. We greatly appreciate the bipartisan effort to lower the cost of prescription drugs through advancement of the CREATES Act.”

In a second letter, opposing BLOCKING and Patent Settlements, Davis said, “To address our concerns about the unintended consequences, AAM has over the last few months offered several alternatives and recommended improvements to both the BLOCKING Act and the Protecting Consumer Access to Generic Drugs Act. We would be glad to discuss these further with you and the sponsors. AAM appreciates that the intended goal with these policies is to reduce some of the barriers to competition that delay patient access to more affordable medicine; unfortunately, however, the opposite is true.”

Davis continued, “If the two proposals are passed without significant modifications to address the unintended consequences, the deck would further be stacked against generic and biosimilar manufacturers who, due to abuse of the patent system and other anti-competitive tactics, are finding it increasingly difficult to bring new medicines to patients. Enactment of these policies will increase the litigation costs and risks for generic and biosimilar manufacturers, resulting in fewer patent challenges against brand-name drugs, and lead to patients paying the high price of brand-name drugs due to extended monopolies.”

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