Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz praised the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection Subcommittee for its vote today in favor of the Protecting Consumer Access to Generic Drugs Act of 2009 (H.R. 1706), which would prohibit “pay-for-delay” patent settlements in which manufacturers of brand-name drugs pay potential generic competitors to stay out of the market.
“Escalating health care costs are a pressing concern for American consumers, employers, and local, state and federal governments,” Leibowitz said. “Stopping pharmaceutical companies from colluding with each other to delay entry of generic drugs, which sometimes cost 80 to 90 percent less than their brand name versions, is a simple and surefire way to control costs. Today, Members of the Subcommittee acknowledged this by approving H.R. 1706.”
“Special thanks go to Chairmen Henry Waxman and Bobby L. Rush and Representative Jan Schakowsky for their leadership in recognizing that preventing these harmful ‘exclusion payment’ agreements will save American consumers and their government billions of dollars every year,” Leibowitz added.
“We urge Congress to pass this legislation to restore the full benefits of generic competition so that consumers will benefit from earlier access to generic drugs, which are substantially less expensive than branded drugs,” Leibowitz said. “We’re seeing a lot of momentum in the new Administration and in Congress.”
Chairman Leibowitz also thanked the Subcommittee for passing two other important consumer protection measures: H.R. 2309, the Consumer Credit and Debt Protection Act; and H.R. 2221, the Data Accountability and Trust Act.