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Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

PRO-GENERIC POLICIES CAN STRETCH STATE BUDGETS

State governments grappling withescalating health care expenses shouldplace more emphasis on generic drugsto stretch their budgets, officials at theGeneric Pharmaceutical Association(GPhA) said. Responding to a report fromthe National Governors Association thatblamed much of the financial distresson ?steadily rising health care costs,?GPhA said that states that increaseaccess to lower-priced generics will findMedicaid and other health programsmore affordable.

?As health care costs escalate, increasingconsumer access to genericmedicines is the solution to loweringcosts while promoting quality care,?GPhA President and Chief ExecutiveOfficer Kathleen Jaeger said. ?At costsof 30% to 80% less than brands, genericsoffer substantial savings for consumers,state governments, and thehealth care system. In fact, just a 1%increase in the use of generics couldsave $4 billion annually,? she said.

Specifically, Jaeger called on state officialsto reject so-called ?carve-out? legislationthat bars generic substitution forvarious therapeutic classes of medicines.She also called for changes to theMedicaid pharmacy reimbursementrules to ensure that they do not hinderpatients? access to generics.

JAPAN EYES CASHINCENTIVES FORGENERICS

US pharmacistshave a definite interestin a newJapanese initiativedesigned to increasegenericdrug use in thatcountry. If adoptedby Tokyo, pharmacists in Japan will receive cashbonuses of 30% or more for filling prescriptionswith generic pharmaceuticals.

Japan?s universal health care program is projectedto face a staggering 70% cost increase by2025, and government officials are looking now atgenerics as a way to hold down that inflation rate.Although Japanese pharmacists are authorized tosubstitute generics, only 17% of prescriptions dispensedin that country are filled generically. Genericsaccount for 63% of the drugs dispensed inthe United States.

FRESH FUNDING FOR GENERICAPPROVALS

The FDA?s budget for approvinggeneric pharmaceuticals will increaseby $6 million next year?extra money that industry leadershope will enable the FDA?s Officeof Generic Drugs (OGD) to cut intothe growing backlog of new drugapplications. Currently, the FDA is struggling with a backlog of nearly1300 unprocessed generic drug applications, many of which havebeen pending for longer than the statutory review time of 180 days.

Although federal law requires the agency to process AbbreviatedNew Drug Applications for generic medicines in no more than 6months, the current average time taken by the FDA to approve ageneric application is nearly 3 times that long (17 months).

?These additional funds are a good first step toward enabling OGDto hire more reviewers and process generic applications in a timelymanner,? said Generic Pharmaceutical Association President andChief Executive Officer Kathleen Jaeger. ?Generics save consumersand federal and state governments billions of dollars a year,? and the?investment in the timely approval of generics will reap significantdividends in terms of cost savings and improved health.?

STRONGER PRESENCE IN SPAIN FOR TEVA

Generic drug maker Teva PharmaceuticalIndustries Ltd is increasing itspresence in the European pharmaceuticalmarket through an agreement to buythe generic pharmaceutical operationsof Bentley Pharmaceuticals Inc for $360million.

Exeter, New Hampshire?based Bentleyis a leading marketer of generic drugs inSpain and also sells to other EuropeanUnion countries. Officials at Teva said theacquisition will give their company a?platform to capture a leading position inthe fast-growing Spanish generic pharmaceuticalmarket.? A strategic review conductedby Teva last year identified Spainas one of the company?s target marketsfor future growth.