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Statement on Senate Judiciary Committee Advancing Drug Pricing Bills

By Soumi Saha, Senior Vice President, Government Affairs, Premier Inc.

Today’s approval by the Senate Judiciary Committee of bills that support market competition and incentivize innovation in the pharmaceutical marketplace is an important step towards lowering drug prices. Federal actions to reduce the gaming of United States Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements or other attempts to unfairly delay competition by drug manufacturers are long overdue.

These bipartisan bills advance policies long advocated for by Premier to thwart anticompetitive practices, such as “product hopping,” “evergreening,” “pay for delay” and the filing of sham citizen petitions, that permit manufacturers to extend monopolies and block access to lower cost generic drugs and biosimilars. Premier is also pleased to see the Committee green light legislation that will improve collaboration across federal agencies to more effectively cultivate innovation while holding bad actors in the space accountable.

These policies align with recommendations that Premier submitted this week to the USPTO and FDA to address the rising cost of pharmaceuticals and help ensure that the patent system, while incentivizing innovation, does not unjustifiably delay generic drug and biosimilar competition. In our comments, Premier reflects on legislative barriers to innovating within our current healthcare system and opportunities for action to foster innovation, competition and affordability.

In many ways, these policies are low-hanging fruit as they have been addressed in a bipartisan and bicameral manner in prior Congressional sessions, but unfortunately never made it to the finish line. Now is the time to address these anticompetitive behaviors and help reduce the cost of drugs in the United States. Premier looks forward to working with Congress to pass these commonsense, bipartisan bills.

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