Proposed legislation aimed at increasing the availability of cheaper generic drugs in the US has stalled in Congress due to lobbying by the drug industry, it has been claimed.
Congress is currently debating a bill which would ban most settlements known as “reverse payments,” in which a brand-name company pays a generic manufacturer to delay the introduction of the generic drug.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, such settlements cost American consumers billions of dollars.
But a new study shows that from July 1, 2006, to June 30, 2007, at least a dozen generic and brand-name companies and their trade associations spent £19m on issues including the Senate legislation.
Half of that money was spent by the Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), which represents brand-name drug companies.
The figures show that PhRMA spent £9m in the 12-month period on in-house lobbying expenses, an increase of about £1.4m over the previous 12-months.
However, they do not provide a breakdown on money spent campaigning against the bill.
Responding to the report’s findings, Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards said it was “an insult to every American that legislation to increase the availability of affordable generic drugs has been stalled in Congress as a result of lobbyists and the pharmaceutical industry.”
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