Generics firms balk at $460M in reform fees

Count generic drugmakers among the opponents of the recently-approved Senate Finance Committee healthcare reform. Under that proposal, the industry would pay $460 million in additional Medicaid rebates over a decade. And generics companies think that's not fair. After all, they say, they've already saved Americans hundreds of billions with their low-cost products, Kaiser Health Network reports.

Branded drugmakers are footing $80 billion in cost cuts, so they're none too sympathetic with their generic rivals' complaints. "Generics are getting off pretty light while everyone else gets whacked," Joe Kelley, a lobbyist for Eli Lilly, told Kaiser. Besides, the Senate Finance Bill has a provision that will make it easier for pharmacists to switch consumers to generics, potentially increasing demand for copycat meds even more.

But copycat drugmakers say that the provision's potential to boost demand could be offset by branded pharma's subsidies for seniors in the Medicare "doughnut hole." By helping seniors pay for their branded meds, pharma may keep potential generic-switching at bay. Plus, there's the 12 years of exclusivity the bill gives to biologic meds; generics makers had fought for half that.

- read the Kaiser story