Not Just Big Pharma: Biotech Companies Fighting Over Drug Patents
Barr Pharmaceuticals is lobbying for a US law that would allow the sale of copied medicines made by the biotech industry. Barr is dispatching almost a dozen representatives along with many other generic drug lobbyists, to try to pass their law.
Other biotech companies such as Amgen and Genetech Inc. stand firmly in opposition of the new law. They contest that making copies of the highly complex gene based medication pose a higher health risk than copying the tradition treatments.
According to a report on Bloomberg.com, “the outcome of the fight will determine whether generic makers, including Barr and Israel-based Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., can sell competing versions of biotech medications when they lose patent protection. Generic biotech drugs may reduce prices by 33 percent, analysts say.”
Supporters of Barr Pharmaceuticals contend that allowing copies could save the biotech industry over 14 billion dollars in the next ten years. Currently, the biotech industry accounts for 32.8 billion of the 251.8 billion dollars of prescription drug sales to US pharmacies in 2005.
Bloomberg.com also states, “Many biotech medicines carry high price tags, and generic versions are likely to lower prices by 20 percent to 30 percent, Elise Wang, an analyst with Citigroup Inc. in New York, said in an interview. One of the most expensive biotech medicines is Genzyme Corp.'s Cerezyme, a treatment for a rare enzyme disorder that can cost 0,000 a year.”
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