Senators reintroduced legislation that increases consumers’ access to cost-saving generic drugs by helping put an end to pay-offs by brand-name drug manufacturers that keep cheaper generic equivalents off the market 

A Federal Trade Commission report shows that a significant number of potential pay-for-delay settlements continue to occur

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) today renewed their efforts to crack down on anti-competitive pay-for-delay pharmaceutical deals. The senators reintroduced the Preserve Access to Affordable Generics Act, which would increase consumers’ access to the cost-saving generic drugs they need by helping put an end to the practice of brand-name drug manufacturers using pay-off agreements to keep more affordable generic equivalents off the market. A report from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in December 2014 identified 29 potential pay-for-delay settlements involving 21 different branded pharmaceutical products, with combined U.S. sales of approximately $4.3 billion.

“Pay-for-delay pharmaceutical deals force consumers to pay higher prices by keeping affordable alternatives to brand-name drugs off the market,” said Klobuchar. “Our legislation will help ensure people have access to the medications they need at a price they can afford by putting an end to these harmful agreements once and for all.” 

"Pay for delay deals keep drug costs artificially high for consumers and the taxpaying public.  These agreements disrupt the current law that was put in place to speed generic drugs getting to the market.  In addition, they force consumers to pay more for their medicines, and add an exorbitant burden to the deficit,” Grassley said.  “The FTC has kept the pressure on, but Congress should act to end these twisted litigation settlements.”

The Preserve Access to Affordable Generics Act would crack down on anti-competitive pay-offs and make sure consumers have access to the cost-saving generic drugs they need. Pay-for-delay agreements delay generic entry into the market an average of nearly 17 months longer than agreements without payments. These pay-off settlements (also known as “reverse payments”) delay consumer access to generic drugs, which can be as much as 90 percent cheaper than brand-name drugs.

The legislation would make it illegal for brand-name drug manufacturers to use anti-competitive pay-off agreements to keep more affordable generic equivalents off the market. Klobuchar and Grassley introduced similar legislation last Congress following a resurgence of patent settlement agreements.