Monday, August 3, 2009

Power to Biotech: Getting What They Want on Patents, Generics

Alicia Mundy in the Wall Street Journal (http://sbk.online.wsj.com/article/SB124917341780899303.html; subscription required) writes how the House Energy and Commerce Committee voted 47-11 to hand the biotech industry a major victory in an amendment to the health reform bill, handing a setback to the Administration.

The industry gets a full 12 years' patent exclusivity for its expensive biologic products, which Obama and other Democratic leaders had hoped to whittle down to 5-7 years before generic competition would be allowed. Many of the worst "evergreening" abuses, by which the brand name drug maker can extend patent rights by making only minor tweaks in a drug, also get the green light under these amendments.

If this is a sign of how likely Congress is to stand up to the Pharma and biotech lobbies to pass meaningful health reform, it is not encouraging.

1 comment:

Quiact said...

Are they actually generics- or biosimiliars? It's a matter of linguistics, I suppose.