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Senate Committee Investigates Price Hikes for Off-Patent Drugs

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JAMA

The Senate Special Committee on Aging is holding a series of hearings investigating sudden price increases for drugs that go off-patent.

“For many decades, federal policy has sought to strike the right balance between maintaining the incentives needed to promote innovation and the development of new drugs and keeping medicines affordable,” chair Susan Collins (R, Me) said in a statement at the first hearing (http://1.usa.gov/1YZGjnG). “That balance we have struck never anticipated companies acquiring off-patent drugs and then jacking up their prices to enormous heights….”

Rita Rubin, MA

Prices began to increase in the past 5 to 10 years as mergers and acquisitions by manufacturers resulted in less price competition and increased shortages of generic drugs, Gerard Anderson, PhD, director of the Center for Hospital Finance and Management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, testified at a hearing (http://1.usa.gov/1Suuia4).

Anderson recommended that the committee investigate whether the decreasing numbers of generic drug companies are reducing competition by dividing the market among themselves.

“Recently, we are seeing many generic companies choosing not to enter.

 read more at JAMA

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