Healthcare Reform Would Discourage Generic Drugs
we continue to spend more on drugs -- in part because of the increasing use of so-called biologic medicines, which cost, on average, 22 times as much as ordinary drugs. In 2008, 28 percent of sales from the pharmaceutical industry's top 100 products came from biologics; by 2014, that share is expected to rise to 50 percent.
Biologic drugs can be more expensive to manufacture; they are grown inside living cells rather than put together chemically, as conventional drugs are. But this does not fully account for their high prices. Another important factor is that they very rarely face competition from generic copies.
Congress has an opportunity to change this by including in health care reform incentives for generic drug makers to compete in the biologics marketplace. But unfortunately, both the House and the Senate versions of health care reform contain provisions that would discourage the development and significantly delay the approval of generic biologics.
In general, I'm in favor of swinging the pendulum back towards less intellectual property protection. This sounds like a bad idea to me.