House Panel Eyes Bill to Bolster Generic Drug Development

Legislation prods FDA to attack generics backlog

A House of Representatives subcommittee will consider legislation next week to promote the development of generic drugs as lower-cost alternatives to expensive branded products, according to a Reuters report. The bill will be sponsored by Representatives Gus Bilirakis (R-Florida) and Kurt Schrader (D-Oregon).

“President Trump made it clear ... he wants competition to lower drug prices, and that is precisely what this measure will help accomplish,” said the subcommittee’s chairman, Representative Greg Walden (R-Oregon). “Specifically the bill will require the FDA to prioritize, expedite, and review generic applications of drug products that are currently in shortage, or where there are few manufacturers on the market.”

“For those in the [pharma] industry who think it’s OK to corner a market, drive up prices, and rip off consumers, know that your days are numbered,” Walden added.

He said the bill would also increase transparency around the backlog of generic drug applications at the FDA, saying there was an “unacceptably high” number of such applications.

Earlier this week, President Trump met with pharmaceutical executives and called on them to cut prices. He told them that the government was paying “astronomical” prices for medications in its health programs for older, disabled, and poor people.

Source: Reuters; February 2, 2017.