Today Congressman Kurt Schrader’s (OR-05) bipartisan bill to lower drug costs was unanimously approved by the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health during the markup of the FDA Reauthorization Act of 2017.
“This has long been an area where Congress needed to act to put a stop to abuses by unscrupulous, bad actors,” said Rep. Schrader. “In recent years, in particular, we’ve seen dramatic price hikes on life-saving drugs occur, some overnight. But, we know that when generic drugs compete in the market, drug prices come down dramatically. Last year, I began working across the aisle with my good friend, Congressman Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), to combat this problem and work to encourage generic competition where there isn't any on the market.
“Accelerating the review process timeline for off-brand generics that have no competition is a great, bipartisan step we can take to bring down drug costs. Companies will be able to bring their generics to the market quicker, increasing competition and bringing down prices. This stimulus of competition will cut any exorbitant profit margins that those unscrupulous bad actors may try to reap, and it will discourage the bad actors behavior in the first place. My bill today takes these great steps toward quickly bringing more generic competition to the market, ultimately bringing prices down on these life-saving drugs, and protecting them from future dramatic price hikes. It’s nice to be able to come together today with my colleagues across both sides of the aisle to work on creating solutions like this one for folks back at home.”
Although nine out of every ten prescriptions is for a generic drug, generic drugs only make up 28 percent of the total prescription drug spending in the United States. Rep. Schrader’s bill will increase competition among new generic drugs competing with off-patent brand drugs where there is no competition by:
- Requiring greater communication between the FDA and manufacturers for these competitive generic products before and during the application process which guarantees an accelerated eight month review;
- Creating incentive to come to market by guaranteeing the same six months of exclusivity that the vast majority of first generic drugs currently receive;
- Closing a loophole and improving program integrity in the Tropical Disease priority review voucher program.
Congressman Schrader began his bipartisan charge to bring down drug costs in the 114th Congress when he first introduced the Lower Drug Costs Through Competition Act in response to the dramatic 4,000 percent overnight price hike on the life-saving drug Daraprim.