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Quality Digest

FDA Compliance

PCMA Discourages Drug-Patent Extensions

Published: Wednesday, November 16, 2005 - 22:00

Citing concerns about bioterrorism preparedness, the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association has discouraged the extension of several prescription drug patents currently being discussed by Congress. Congress is currently being lobbied by drug companies to extend the patents on some drugs, but the PCMA reports that the results could be increased costs throughout the entire health-care system, as well as a decreased ability to prepare for bioterror attacks.

“PCMA believes that a strong national defense policy should include efforts to develop effective countermeasures to combat bioterrorism,” says Mark Merritt, PCMA president. “Regrettably, some of the drug-patent extension proposals being discussed raise serious concerns about the overall cost impact and whether they would even advance the goals of bioterrorism preparedness. At a time when private and public purchasers are looking to expand access to clinically proven, cost-effective drugs, brand-name drug extensions take us in exactly the wrong direction.”

Among the unanswered questions about brand-name drug extensions and bioterrorism preparedness include:

  • How much would drug-patent extensions increase prescription-drug costs for working families and seniors? How much would costs increase for private health-care purchasers, including unions, small businesses and large employers?
  • How much would consumers see their health benefits eroded or eliminated because of the costs associated with drug-patent extensions?
  • How much would drug-patent extensions increase costs and Part D premiums in the new Medicare prescription-drug benefit?
  • How would drug-patent extensions advance the goals of bioterrorism preparedness?

PCMA represents America’s pharmacy-benefit managers, who administer prescription drug plans to 200 million Americans. For more information, visit www.pcmanet.org.


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