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Georgia congressman wants to lower prescription drug costs

Rep. Hank Johnson and Alabama Congresswoman Martha Roby introduced the act.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – If one state representative gets his way, Americans will see lower prescription drug costs by streamlining and making it more cost-effective for generic drug makers to get their products to consumers.

Georgia Congressman Hank Johnson and Alabama Congresswoman Martha Roby on Friday introduced the Affordable Prescriptions for Patients Through Improvements to Patent Litigation Act, which would amend the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act of 2009 (BPCIA) – H.R. 3991.

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Johnson, chair of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet (the IP Subcommittee), offered the amendment to "help simplify the process of bringing biosimilar drugs to the marketplace that should result in lower prices for consumers."

“Unfortunately, the BPCIA has not yet done for biosimilars what the 1984 Hatch-Waxman Act did for small-molecule drugs,” said Johnson. “And that (will) make it easier for generics to get the marketplace quicker and more efficiently and thereby make them more affordable at the pharmacy counter. My amendment seeks to strengthen the BPCIA, not undo or undermine it.”

Roby says the top issue she hears from her constituents in southeast Alabama is that prescription drugs are too expensive.  

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“That is why I am proud to join Chairman Johnson in introducing the Affordable Prescriptions for Patients Through Improvements to Patent Litigation Act. This legislation will help put an end to patent gamesmanship that prevents lower-priced generics from entering the market and bringing lower prices to consumers," said Rep. Roby, Ranking Member of the IP Subcommittee.

Johnson said while the BPCIA was designed in part to expedite the pathway for new versions of previously marketed biologic drugs, the current regime for addressing patents that may cover biosimilar drugs -- which are much more complicated and costly to bring to marker than small-molecule drugs -- is like a clogged artery.

“By streamlining and simplifying the patent litigation process, we hope to help boost an already robust biosimilar application process and help to expeditiously make these life-saving drugs affordable to every consumer.”


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