WASHINGTON DC (July 19, 2018) – Secretary Azar testified on June 26 before the Senate Finance Committee, policy makers should examine whether the U.S. is "underpaying for and under-reimbursing for generics. We need a strong, robust generic market. We may be driving those prices so low that we're creating manufacturing anomalies that lead to sole-source products with others exiting. We need to look at that and be open minded about whether we've actually made it too low."
With Secretary Azar testifying that generic prices are being forced too low, the most important goal of the new HHS task force should be to address why there are sole source off-patent drugs in the first place. While AAM appreciates the Administration's efforts through its Blueprint to increase generic and biosimilar competition to bring down high brand name drug prices, importation of prescription drugs manufactured overseas will not solve the underlying under-reimbursement issues that Secretary Azar identified.
The task force must ensure that any initiatives do not further harm generic drug markets to the detriment of patient access. And given its mission to "address price hikes ... that are harming American patients," the most significant impact the task force could have is to look closely at drugs whose monopolies and price increases are enabled by well-documented abuses of the patent system.
AAM is driven by the belief that access to safe, quality, effective medicine has a tremendous impact on a person’s life and the world around them. Generic and biosimilar medicines improve people’s lives, improving society and the economy in turn. AAM represents the manufacturers and distributors of finished generic pharmaceuticals and biosimilars, manufacturers and distributors of bulk pharmaceutical chemicals, and suppliers of other goods and services to the generic industry. Generic pharmaceuticals are 90 percent of prescriptions dispensed in the U.S. but only 23 percent of total drug spending.
About the Biosimilars Council
The Biosimilars Council, a division of the Association for Accessible Medicines (AAM), works to ensure a positive environment for patient access to biosimilar medicines. The Biosimilars Council is a leading source for information about the safety and efficacy of more affordable alternatives to costly brand biologic medicines. Areas of focus include public and health expert education, strategic partnerships, government affairs, legal affairs and regulatory policy. More information is available at www.biosimilarscouncil.org.