You tell me if this sounds competitive: Major pharmaceutical company develops new drug. Minor pharmaceutical company wants to bring generic version on the market at a much lower price. Major pharmaceutical company pays minor pharmaceutical company not to release the drug. In the eyes of some pharmaceutical industries, and some Republicans, that is a competitive situation. In the eyes of the rest of the world, it’s an unethical way for major pharmaceuticals to keep customers from having access to generic drugs. Thankfully, we’re one step closer to those practices coming to an end.
WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)–A U.S. Senate panel on Thursday passed a bill that makes it difficult for drug companies to enter into deals that critics say delay cheaper, generic drugs from reaching the market.
The bill, which passed 12-7 mostly along party lines, would allow makers of brand-name and generic pharmaceutical drugs to enter into agreements only if they can prove such deals promote competition. It's unclear how companies would do that.
The legislation, introduced by Sen. Herb Kohl, D.Wis., has been pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee for over a month and has drawn the ire of pharmaceutical executives who say the deals do promote competition.
The legislation would presume such deals between makers of brand-name and generic drugs are illegal, a slight change from an original version of the bill that banned the agreements outright.
I was particularly interested in the fact that Jeff Sessions (a Republican who stridently argues to “reform” the civil justice system by making it harder for injured people to sue) was upset that this bill introduces a clear and convincing standard of evidence. He would prefer the same standard of evidence that regular civil plaintiffs must use. I wonder if he believes punitive damages should be proven by clear and convincing evidence?