An Rx for Mega Lawsuits?

September 20, 2013

This op-ed by ILR President Lisa A. Rickard originally appeared in The Hill on September 20, 2013:

Generic consumer products first appeared on store shelves in the late 1970s as a cost-conscious alternative to brand name grocery products. Today, one can buy practically anything in generic form – from tires to whiskey.

But perhaps no generic product has had a greater impact on consumer costs like generic drugs have on the nation’s medical bill. Affordable generic drugs have kept medicines within reach of millions even as overall health costs spiral upward.  Today, almost 8 in 10 prescriptions nationally are filled with generics, and that number will only grow as more drugs become available in generic forms.

So it is mind-boggling that, on the cusp of a major federal expansion of healthcare where one agency (Health and Human Services) is looking everywhere for health cost savings, another agency (the Food and Drug Administration) is considering a change that could drive up the cost of generic drugs, perhaps by billions of dollars.

The change: FDA is considering abandoning its requirement that generic drugs carry warning labels identical to those on name brand equivalents.

The result? Market confusion – and lots of lawsuits. And, ultimately, health care cost increases.

Read the full article here.