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FreedomWorks, a grassroots organization with more than 750,000 members nationwide, is disappointed by the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s vote today on the Eshoo-Barton Amendment to the “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009.” This anti-competitive amendment severely restricts competition and consumer choice while stifling the emerging market for biogeneric drugs. Much like generics expanded consumer access to life-saving drugs, biogenerics, or biologic follow-ons, hold the promise of greater consumer choice for new therapies to treat a variety of conditions, from AIDS to Alzheimer’s, to several different cancers. Unfortunately, today’s votes promises to restrict access and promote higher prices for these important new drugs.
“With the rising cost of pharmaceutical drugs and healthcare, it is increasingly important to encourage competition in the market for life saving therapies,” said Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks. “Biologics show great promise and have been used to produce insulin, human growth hormone, and other important therapies. Congress should be working to develop a regulatory pathway that allows the FDA to increase the availability of these drugs and promote competition. Instead, the Eshoo-Barton amendment shores up existing monopolies at the expense of consumers.”
Already, the European Union and Australia have established procedures to approve biogenerics. As an important component of health care reform, Congress should adopt measures promoting competition and growth in the biogenerics market, ensuring all Americans enjoy access to these latest therapeutic drugs at the most affordable prices. Unfortunately, the Eshoo-Barton amendment will do little to promote the competition necessary to expand consumer choice and check rising health care costs.
“A market approach is the correct solution to getting less expensive therapies to patients, as it also encourages the development of new and desperately needed medicines,” said Kibbe. “FreedomWorks is disappointed with today’s committee vote and we will work vigorously to expand patient choice and improve access to life-saving therapies by encouraging Congress to create a pathway for FDA approval of biologics in a timely manner.”