House Committee To Address Generics Bill Next Week, but Passage Remains ‘Unlikely’
The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing next week to discuss a generic drug bill (S 812) approved by the Senate in July, but the House "still appears unlikely to act" on the legislation, CongressDaily/AM reports (Rovner, CongressDaily/AM, 10/3). The bill would allow brand-name drug companies to receive only one 30-month patent extension per product, closing loopholes in the 1984 Hatch-Waxman Act that pharmaceutical companies have used to delay generic competition. The legislation also would prevent brand-name drug companies from paying generic manufacturers to keep their products off the market and would allow generic drug companies to legally challenge "frivolous patents," including "superficial changes" in a treatment's color or physical design intended only to "stifle competition" (California Healthline, 10/2). House Democrats have launched a campaign to bring the bill straight to the floor through a discharge petition but have not obtained the required number of signatures. Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, said yesterday that the legislation would prevent brand-name drug companies from delaying generic competition "indefinitely." Brown accused the House of "failing to discharge its constitutional duty" by not addressing the bill. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Billy Tauzin (R-La.) said that "it looks like the clock will run out" on prescription drug reimportation legislation in the current legislative session (CongressDaily/AM, 10/3).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.