I have been writing about the problem of health care becoming affordable for years and almost every day I learn something new. I have learned that allegedly drug makers pay other drug makers to delay entry of less expensive generic drugs into the market. This means that rather than you getting a break on price that they can keep charging the higher price for the drug by paying to delay the entry. Somehow, I have a problem with this practice when you consider that almost every day we hear about the necessity of reducing the cost of health care and improving the quality.
Although the article written by James Kanter and Katie Thomas about this practice started with a case of drug for severe cancer pain in Belgium, this problem exists on both sides of the Atlantic.
"Agreements to delay the introduction of generic drugs have come under heightened scrutiny in both Europe and the United States in recent years, with regulators on both sides of the Atlantic concluding that such deals are anticompetitive," the article states. "In the United States, the Supreme Court is scheduled to take up the issue in March. Patent expirations also open opportunities for generic competitors, which is why in some cases drug makers have been accused of paying generic competitors to delay bringing their products to market."
We are told daily that something must be done about the cost of health care and that the first choice of our politicians is to reduce; I hate to use the word "entitlements" with a lot of emphasis on reducing the costs of Medicare, which affects our seniors. Wouldn't you think that the focus should be to scrutinize every known practice to see if opportunities exist for savings to our citizens without affecting the quality of care? An interesting study would be to compare money spent marketing/advertising along with money spent lobbying Congress and money spent delaying entry of generic drugs with money spent on research.