A prior MAP news article available here, reports on the proposal released by Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Ro Khanna, the Prescription Drug Price Relief Act, which requires the Department of Health and Human Services to disregard patents and allow cheaper generic versions to be produced when branded drugs cost more than the median price of the drug in Canada, the UK, Germany, France and Japan; which would occur if the respective manufacturer refused to reduce their prices.
Continuing the discussion on drug pricing in the US, a proposal has been released by Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative Jan Schakowsky on 18th December 2018 regarding the manufacture and pricing of generic drugs. The Act suggests public manufacturing of generic drugs by the Department of Health and Human Services in the following cases;
- where no company is manufacturing the drug
- only one or two companies produce the drug, and the price has spiked or the drug is in shortage
- only one or two companies produce the drug, the price is a barrier to patient access, and the drug is listed as an “essential medicine” by the World Health Organization.
The intention of this is to lower drug prices and improve competition as the proposal claims,
Forty percent of generic drugs are now made by a single manufacturer, and a majority are made by only one or two companies.”
Representative Jan Schakowsky has stated:
“Nearly 25% of Americans have skipped a dose of their medication or not filled a prescription due to the prohibitive cost. This includes 50% of medications for chronic disease that are not taken as prescribed… It’s time for Pharmaceutical companies to face real, honest competition in the marketplace and it’s well past time for prescription drug prices to come down.”
Opposition has been voiced against the Act by The Association for Accessible Medicines, who stated:
“When generics provide Americans with nine out of 10 of their prescriptions at only 23 percent of total spending on drugs, it is hard to fathom why anyone would call this system broken or insist that the government commandeer the business of developing, manufacturing and distributing these medicines”
Although this is another interesting proposal continuing the debate surrounding drug pricing in the US, as for the Prescription Drug Price Relief Act, the bill has many stages to go through so is unlikely to get passed and may not necessarily even get to the stage of a vote.
Click here to read the Senate version of the bill.
More detail on the Association for Accessible Medicines response is available here.
Read more here.