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

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.

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.”

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.

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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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