Sarbanes Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Help Lower Prescription Drug Costs

Legislation Would Help Expose and Examine Secret Agreements that Keep Affordable Drugs Off the Market
July 23, 2018
CONTACT: Natalie Young | |
(202) 225-4016  

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) today introduced the Biosimilars Competition Act of 2018, a bipartisan bill that would require biologic and biosimilar drug manufacturers to report anticompetitive agreements that keep lower-cost drugs off the market. These so-called “pay-for-delay” agreements – often made in secret – provide millions of dollars to big pharmaceutical companies while forcing everyday Americans to pay more for prescription drugs.

“We must take every step possible to prevent Big Pharma from continuing to raise drug prices on hardworking American families,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “This bill will help lower prescription drug costs by bringing more affordable biosimilar drugs to the market.”

During a recent House Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection hearing, Congressman Sarbanes highlighted the bill’s benefits with Federal Trade Commission Chairman Joseph Simons.

According to a 2013 report by the Federal Trade Commission, “pay-for-delay” tactics have increased year over year. In 2005, just 3 such deals were made between brand name manufacturers and generic manufacturers. In 2012, 40 such deals were made. These agreements cost consumers roughly $3.5 billion every single year.

Unlike most brand name drug manufacturers and generic drug manufacturers – which must notify the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) before reaching a “pay-for-delay” agreement to ensure it does not violate anti-trust law – biologic and biosimilar drug manufacturers, which carry a high price tag, do not have to report these kinds of deals. The Biosimilars Competition Act would change that by allowing DOJ and FTC to scrutinize “pay-for-delay” agreements made by biologic and biosimilar drug manufactures, and take enforcement action when necessary, to keep more affordable drugs on the market.