GPhA Issues Statement on Generic Drug Costs

November 20, 2014
Susan Haigney

Susan Haigney is managing editor of Pharmaceutical Technologyand Pharmaceutical Technology Europe, susan.haigney@ubm.com.

Ralph G. Neas, president and CEO of the Generic Pharmaceutical Association, requests that Congress get involved in the support of a more competitive drug market.

The Generic Pharmaceutical Association (GPhA) has issued a statement in support of competition in the pharmaceutical drug market. The statement, issued by Ralph G. Neas, president and CEO of GPhA, requests that Congress take initiative by reviewing potential abuse of patient safety programs, such as risk evaluation and mitigation strategies (REMS); encouraging FDA to review generic-drug applications more quickly, and by asking FDA to enact regulations for biosimilar approvals and support a competitive biosimilar naming policy.

“The most effective way to continue to keep prescription drugs affordable for patients is to increase competition. Millions of patients and the entire healthcare system would benefit from streamlining and expediting the approval process so that more generics can reach the market sooner. As the newly released report from Matrix Global Advisors shows, there are opportunities for FDA to facilitate pharmaceutical competition,” Neas says in the statement. 

Neas expresses the association’s disappointment in what it considers the Healthcare Supply Chain Association (HSCA)’s mischaracterization of generic-drug facts reported by the IMS Institute of Healthcare Informatics and Express Scripts. 

“Their data is missing one crucial element: perspective. The examples cited by the Healthcare Supply Chain Association on recent purchases by group purchasing organizations (GPOs) focuses on 10 drugs in a marketplace of more than 12,000 safe, affordable generic medicines. In fact, thousands of generics have seen significant price erosion over time due to the competitive nature of the marketplace. One such example is that of Lipitor—for which generics have saved all involved an estimated $7 billion per year. In addition, many generic prices are so low that thousands of stores across the country offer them to consumers for four dollars or even for free.”

According to Neas, IMS reported that generic drugs saved $239 billion in 2013 and more than $1.46 trillion during the recent decade. The Express Scripts 2013 Drug Trend Report states that, while the price of brand drugs has almost doubled, generic drug prices have been roughly cut in half since 2008, according to the GPhA statement.

“Generic manufacturers can proudly point to a legacy of savings and access that will continue to bring expensive treatments within reach for millions of people,” says Neas.

Source: GPhA