Congressional action on generics drugs stalls in face of lobbying

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

Major lobbying in Congress by the drug industry has put the brakes on a bill aimed at making generic drugs available sooner.

The Senate Bill would ban most settlements known as "reverse payments." That's when a brand-name company pays a generic drug maker to hold off on introducing the generic drug.

The Federal Trade Commission called on Congress to take action on such settlements, saying they could cost American consumers billions of dollars.

A review by the Associated Press finds that at least a dozen generic and brand-name companies spent nearly 40 million dollars lobbying on issues including the Senate bill.

The bill's sponsor says lobbyists have a lot of influence, but if the bill comes to a vote, it will be hard for lawmakers to vote against it.

One Republican congressman has expressed concerns about the bill. Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah says he voted to move it through committee, but that lawmakers need to find a "balanced solution" that bans some settlements but doesn't affect those that actually help consumers.

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