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Klobuchar, Grassley introduce bipartisan bill, battle prices of prescription drugs

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Chuck Grassley of Iowa reintroduced legislation today to address the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs. The bipartisan Preserve Access to Affordable Generics and Biosimilars Act would crack down on anti-competitive pay-for-delay pharmaceutical deals in which branded companies pay their generic competitors not to compete as part of a patent settlement.

“The skyrocketing prices of prescription drugs have made many lifesaving medications unaffordable for the people who need them,” Klobuchar said. “This bipartisan legislation offers a commonsense solution for lowering the costs of prescription drugs. It’s long past time that Congress put patients before pharmaceutical companies and help Americans get the critical medications they need.”

“When brand name, generic and biologic drug makers enter into agreements to keep more affordable medicines out of the marketplace, all of us are left to pay the price,” Grassley said. “Competition among drug makers is critical to lowering the price of prescription medications. Generics and biosimilar drugs offer the same benefits as brand name drugs, but often at a lower price. Our bill will curb the anti-competitive pay-for-delay tactics that artificially inflate prices for patients and prevent access to more affordable alternatives.”

“Competition empowers consumers with the leverage of choice, putting more pressure on pharmaceutical manufacturers to keep prices down. This bill would stop drug makers from orchestrating artificial delays in bringing competing drugs to market,” said George Slover, Senior Policy Counsel, Consumer Reports.

The Preserve Access to Affordable Generics and Biosimilars Act would crack down on anti-competitive agreements in which branded companies pay generic companies not to compete as part of a patent settlement. These pay-off settlements (also known as “reverse payments”) delay consumer access to generic and biosimilar drugs, which can be as much as 90 percent cheaper than brand-name drugs. The legislation would stop these anti-competitive pay-off agreements that keep more affordable generic and biosimilar equivalents off the market and make sure consumers have access to the cost saving pharmaceuticals they need.

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