GPhA Urges Super Committee to Oppose Ban on Patent Settlements

The Generic Pharmaceutical Association (GPhA) today reasserted its opposition to a legislative ban on pro-consumer patent settlements and praised policymakers urging the Congressional Super Committee to avoid adopting such a policy, which would serve to impede access to safe, effective, and affordable generic drugs, it said.

“The facts are crystal clear—patent settlements save consumers and taxpayers billions of dollars,” said Ralph G. Neas, President and CEO of GPhA, in a statement. “The growing chorus of lawmakers urging the Super Committee to resist efforts to put a patent settlement ban into their recommendations offers further proof—such a ban is bad public policy that would have a detrimental impact on the American public and eliminate billions of dollars in health care savings from our country.”

This month alone, members of the House, Senate and even the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have spoken out against this legislative ban on patent settlements.

In a letter to the editor published last week, FTC Commissioner J. Thomas Rosch labeled any projected savings from a ban on settlements as “inherently speculative” and asserted that such a policy “should not be tacked onto any other piece of legislation.”

Further, 9 US Senators called on the Super Committee to avoid this “controversial” legislation, acknowledging that the bill “disregards the fact that patent settlements in practice end expensive and protracted legislation, therefore allowing generic drugs to come to the market faster.”

Finally, a letter from Reps. Lamar Smith (R, TX) and Bob Goodlatte (R, VA), chairs of the House Judiciary Committee and Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, respectively, laid bare the supposed savings a ban on settlements would bring to consumers and the US health care system.

“Not only does the bill make bad policy… but claims that it might modestly reduce the deficit are highly doubtful,” Reps. Smith and Goodlatte said. “Indeed, we believe the bill is as likely to increase the deficit as decrease it.”

GPhA urges policymakers to avoid this legislation. Rather than concentrating their efforts on banning pro-consumer and pro-competitive settlements, GPhA urges lawmakers to focus on initiatives that promote consumer access to safe and effective generic drugs.