Fighting The High Cost Of Rx Drugs

AN INDUSTRY-WIDE TACTIC—At least eight of the top 10 drug makers have paid off their competition to block generics from entering the market. The FTC estimates that pay for delay deals cost consumers and taxpayers $3.5 billion every year in higher drug prices.

It's Time To End Pay For Delay

DRIVING UP THE COST OF RX DRUGS
We all know prescription drugs cost too much. That’s partly because brand-name drug companies have been paying off generic drug makers to delay competition and keep prices high. This practice, called “pay for delay,” is commonplace in the pharmaceutical industry.
 
It's anti-competitive. It's hurting consumers. And it has to stop.

WE PAY THE PRICE
Competition is known to bring drug prices down 85-90 percent:

  • 30-day supply of the cholesterol drug Lipitor costs $194. The generic equivalent? Only $16.
  • The medication needed to prevent blood costs, Plavix, costs $205, while its generic equivalent is $13 for that same 30-day supply.
  • The antibiotic Cipro, used to treat a number of infections, costs $52; the generic costs $7.

And because drug companies can use pay for delay to maintain their strangle hold on the market long after their active-ingredient patents expire, consumers who rely on these drugs for their health are often forced to pay these higher prices for years before they see the generic.

CASE STUDY: Experts expected narcolepsy drug Provigil to go generic in 2006, but pay-for-delay deals kept the generic off the market until 2012. In the meantime, many multiple sclerosis patients had to pay over $1,200 each month for the drug, or manage without it. Bad news for consumers, but good news for the drug company. As the CEO of Cephalon, the drug company that makes Provigil, said about the deal, “We got six more years of patent protection. That’s $4 billion in sales that no one expected.”

TAKING ON BIG PHARMA
Drug companies spend more on lobbying than any other industry. But if we build enough public support, we can stop the industry's pay-for-delay scheme and bring down drug and health care costs for consumers and taxpayers.

We're calling on Congress to put an end to pay for delay once and for all.

Issue updates

News Release | U.S. PIRG | Health Care

Twenty Top Generic Drugs Delayed By Industry Payoffs

Americans with cancer, heart disease, epilepsy and other conditions have been forced to pay an average of 10 times more than necessary for at least 20 blockbuster drugs, according to a report released today by Community Catalyst and U.S. PIRG.

> Keep Reading
Report | U.S. PIRG | Health Care

Top Twenty Pay-For-Delay Drugs

Our research revealed 20 major drugs that were subject to an industry practice called “pay for delay,” in which brand name pharmaceutical companies pay off generic drug manufacturers to keep lower cost equivalents off the market, forcing consumers to pay higher brand-name drug prices.

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG | Health Care

Big Pharma's Pay-for-Delay Deals Take a Hit

Big Pharma's controversial "pay-for-delay" agreements took a hit today. In FTC v. Actavis, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) case against the payoff keeping generic AndroGel from the market can move ahead in the lower courts. The court chose not to declare all such payoffs unlawful, however, spurring consumer advocates to call on Congress to finish the job. 

> Keep Reading

Senate panel approves tighter oversight of compounding pharmacies but bill is under fire

Public health and consumer advocacy groups are attacking Senate legislation designed to tighten oversight of specialized pharmacies such as the one at the center of this past fall’s deadly meningitis outbreak, saying it does not adequately address health risks.

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG | Public Health, Health Care

New Report Documents a Decade of Safety Violations by Compounding Pharmacies

The contaminated drug that caused last fall's fungal meningitis outbreak and killed 55 people is just the tip of the iceberg of an industry-wide problem, according to a new U.S. PIRG report. The meningitis outbreak was simply the latest and deadliest in a long line of errors and risky practices by compounding pharmacies.

> Keep Reading

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Health Care

Big Pharma's Pay-for-Delay Deals Take a Hit

Big Pharma's controversial "pay-for-delay" agreements took a hit today. In FTC v. Actavis, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) case against the payoff keeping generic AndroGel from the market can move ahead in the lower courts. The court chose not to declare all such payoffs unlawful, however, spurring consumer advocates to call on Congress to finish the job. 

> Keep Reading

Senate panel approves tighter oversight of compounding pharmacies but bill is under fire

Public health and consumer advocacy groups are attacking Senate legislation designed to tighten oversight of specialized pharmacies such as the one at the center of this past fall’s deadly meningitis outbreak, saying it does not adequately address health risks.

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG | Public Health, Health Care

New Report Documents a Decade of Safety Violations by Compounding Pharmacies

The contaminated drug that caused last fall's fungal meningitis outbreak and killed 55 people is just the tip of the iceberg of an industry-wide problem, according to a new U.S. PIRG report. The meningitis outbreak was simply the latest and deadliest in a long line of errors and risky practices by compounding pharmacies.

> Keep Reading
Media Hit | Health Care

Los Angeles Times: Target, Rite Aid, Walgreens refill drugs without OK, patients say

Some consumers report Target, Rite Aid and Walgreens have refilled their prescription drugs without their approval, similar to allegations involving CVS.

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG | Health Care

Supreme Court Upholds Health Reform

Today’s decision is good news for consumers. Insurance companies can’t go back to the days of dropping your coverage once you become ill, or denying coverage to sick children. And beginning in 2014, the days of insurers being able to deny anyone coverage for “pre-existing conditions” will be history. 

> Keep Reading

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Report | U.S. PIRG | Health Care

The Cost of Repeal for Young Adults

Before moving forward with the health care repeal, however, policy-makers must consider the real-life consequences that their policy choices would have on millions of young Americans. U.S. PIRG has examined official research, data, and projections from independent sources, to provide a detailed picture of repeal’s impact on young adults. The evidence reveals that young people would face significant costs if the Affordable Care Act is repealed.

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Report | U.S. PIRG | Health Care

The Cost of Repeal

The evidence suggests that the costs of health care repeal are substantial and many of the asserted benefits of repeal do not stand up under scrutiny. But policy makers have additional options. They instead should work to implement the law properly in the states and take the steps to lower health care costs which the federal law fails to take.

> Keep Reading
Report | U.S. PIRG | Health Care

MAINE: The Cost of Repeal

The evidence suggests that the costs of health care repeal are substantial and many of the asserted benefits of repeal do not stand up under scrutiny. But Maine's policy makers have additional options. Maine instead should adapt the law's implementation to its needs and take the steps to lower health care costs which the federal law fails to take.

> Keep Reading
Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Health Care

Delivering on the Promise

The recently passed federal health care reform law will make significant changes in how health insurance and health care work for consumers, businesses, and local and state governments, as well as how insurers and providers operate. But whether Americans experience improved care, lower costs and greater access depends largely on what happens next. 

> Keep Reading
Report | U.S. PIRG | Health Care

Uncovered

It's commonly assumed that young Americans are disengaged from the issue, that on the whole they are a healthy group who are unlikely to be affected by health problems or lack access to care. But the reality couldn't be more different. In fact, young people, including college students, are on the front lines of the health care crisis. They make up the largest age block of the uninsured, and face a uniquely challenging set of obstacles that often prevent them from getting coverage.

> Keep Reading

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PRIORITY ACTION

Tell your senator that patients can't afford to wait another day. We need to end "Pay for Delay" right now.

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