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

Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Health Care

The Small Business Dilemma

To more accurately reflect the diversity of views of small businesses on health care, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group has let small business owners to speak for themselves. Three hundred and forty-three small business owners and managers across the country made their views heard through a survey which investigated the impact of health care costs on their businesses.

> Keep Reading
Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Health Care

Cutting Red Tape In Health Care

California’s health care system is broken. Costs are rising faster than either inflation or wages, and wasteful spending is a major culprit.

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

The Facts about Comparative Effectiveness Research

As Congressional and public debate over health care reform grows more intense, comparative effectiveness research (CER) has emerged as an unlikely flashpoint of controversy. Opponents’ claims that CER results in the rationing of health care or a government takeover are belied by the true nature of such research: it is simply fundamental scientific research of medical treatments aimed at determining the most effective ways to treat sickness and injury. CER is the basis of all advancements in the field of medical science and has been used throughout history to improve medical treatment.

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

More Bang for the Health Care Buck

The high cost of health care in the U.S. imposes an increasing burden on households, businesses, government, and our country’s economy – a burden made heavier by the current economic crisis. The money that insurance companies spend on inefficient administration, billing and marketing – instead of medical care for their enrollees – contributes to the high health care costs Americans must endure. To incentive efficiency and get costs under control, the U.S.

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

Paying for What Works

Congress faces the challenge of transforming macro-level consensus on health care reform into detailed, workable policy. This policy primer is intended to help meet that challenge. It examines seven factors which have led to the interrelated crises in cost and quality, and prescribes specific policy remedies to tame costs and restore health professionals’ ability to provide the care on which American families rely.

> Keep Reading

Pages

View AllRSS Feed

PRIORITY ACTION

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

Support Us

Your donation supports U.S. PIRG’s work to stand up for consumers on the issues that matter, especially when powerful interests are blocking progress.

Consumer Alerts

Join our network and stay up to date on our campaigns, get important consumer updates and take action on critical issues.