Jan. 10, 2019

Legislation Would Deliver Relief From Pharma Rip-Offs Through Generic Competition

Statement of Robert Weissman, President, Public Citizen

Note: Today, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) will introduce The Prescription Drug Price Relief Act of 2019. The act requires the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services to license generic and biosimilar competition on patented prescription products when they are deemed excessively priced or cost more than the median in Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Japan.

American consumers pay far too much for prescriptions, not because it is expensive to manufacture them or even because of research and development. We pay too much because the U.S. government grants patents and other monopolies to brand-name manufacturers, then stands aside as Big Pharma exploits those monopolies to price gouge consumers and the government itself.

This legislation would end Big Pharma rip-offs by relying on generic competition as the cure for brand-name companies’ unconscionable pricing. This is a commonsense, market-based solution so that consumers no longer have to ration access to treatment (one in six Americans report skipping prescriptions because of cost issues) or go into debt to pay for the medicines they need. We applaud Sen. Sanders and Rep. Khanna for their leadership and will work to build support for their legislation.

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