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Generic biologics bill will help save money on life-saving drugs

Rep. Waxman's proposal will bring compeition to growing drug sector

March 11, 2009

Dear Chairman Waxman:

Consumers Union, the independent, non-profit publisher of Consumer Reports, is very pleased to endorse your key legislation, “Access to Life-Saving Medicine Act.”

Your proposal will establish a pathway for the Food and Drug Administration to approve safe follow-on or generic biologics (FOBs) that will at last bring reasonable competition to the most expensive and fastest growing sector of pharmaceuticals. Without your legislation, American consumers would face an endless monopoly in the pricing of some of the most exciting, breakthrough, life-saving drugs.

We believe your bill brings the right balance of incentives for biologic invention with encouragement for the entry of follow-on products.

In the next few days, the Medicare Trustees will issue their annual report—a report which we believe should encourage rapid action on your legislation. Because of the severe recession, we can expect the estimated life of the Part A Trust Fund to decline dramatically. The rest of the Trustees Report will document how the rate of healthcare inflation—in both the public and private sectors—will burden America’s future economy and taxpayers. Drug costs are a rising portion of that burden, and biologics are a major source of that increase. Bringing reasonable competition to this sector is essential if we are to save our children from an economy dominated by healthcare costs and obligations.

Thank you again for your leadership on this and so many other healthcare issues.


Steve Findlay
William Vaughan
Consumers Union Health Policy Analysts