New campaign launched for low cost generics

New campaign launched for low cost generics
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Patients for Affordable Drugs is launching a new campaign to pass a bill aimed at easing hurdles to bringing lower cost generic drugs to the market.

The group wants the CREATES Act passed, viewing it as a measure for decreasing the costs of prescription drugs.

“President Trump, Republicans, and Democrats have all voiced frustration with high drug prices. But speaking out is not enough. They must act, and this bill is a bipartisan win for patients,” said David Mitchell, the group’s president and founder, who is also a cancer patient. “The CREATES Act is a common sense solution to stop drug companies from blocking cheaper generics that will bring down skyrocketing drug prices.”

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The bill — introduced in both the House and the Senate with cosponsors from both parties — aims to clamp down on what lawmakers say are practices used by some brand-name pharmaceutical companies to block competition from cheaper generics.

The new campaign will urge Congress to pass the legislation utilizing several strategies — organizing letter-writing campaigns to lawmakers on the House and Senate Judiciary Committee, starting an online advocacy tool so constituents can easily contact their representatives, and creating and distributing social media graphics.

The organization will also coordinate meetings and fly patients to Washington, D.C., to meet with their representatives and launch a five-figure digital ad campaign.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has estimated the CREATES Act would reduce federal spending by $3.3 billion over a decade, according to a press release announcing the bill’s re-introduction this year, so it could be a potential pay-for attached to other bills.

The Association for Accessible Medicines, a group representing generic drugmakers, “fully supports” the legislation, Michael Brzica, AAM vice president of federal affairs, said.

In September, more than 35 groups sent a letter to Democratic and Republican leadership in both parties urging Congress to pass the bill. Signees included the American Hospital Association, America’s Health Insurance Plans and AFL-CIO.

But not everyone likes the legislation. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association (PhRMA) of America opposes the legislation, saying provisions of the bill would undermine a safety protocol called the Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS).

“Should FDA believe there are issues concerning the REMS program, the Agency currently has the authority to address these issues,” PhRMA spokesman Andrew Powaleny wrote in an email. “The CREATES Act would put patients at risk by undermining existing safeguards required by a REMS while also spurring meritless, wasteful litigation.”