AMAC In The Media

AMAC: Seniors Are Ultimate Victims Of Newest Attacks On Generic Drugs By Big Pharma

‘Generic drug use has saved the U.S. health care system approximately $1.07 trillion over the past decade’ – 

BOHEMIA, NY, Feb 1 – “Older Americans need to lobby their state and federal lawmakers to protest a megabuck, nationwide effort by ‘big pharma’ to restrict important generic drugs,” according to Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens.

The AMAC chief urged his membership to “mount a pre-emptive, immediate and concerted effort” to counter efforts in state legislatures across the country and in Congress to constrain generic versions of important biological drugs.  “The big drug companies are targeting generic versions of such important brands as Humira and Enbrel, which treat rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis, and Herceptin, Avastin and Rituxan, which target cancer.  If they succeed, it could put treatment out of the reach of many seniors, particularly those on fixed incomes.”

Weber noted that eight states are considering new rules to limit lower-cost generic substitutions, including Virginia where its House of Delegates has already passed proposed new legislation.

“Biosimilar medicines, which are less costly versions of brand-name biologics, have been used safely in Europe for nearly seven years. However, these affordable treatments are not yet available in the U.S. But under new federal laws, the FDA now is developing regulations that will allow for the approval and use of biosimilars here at home,” according to a statement issued by the Generic Pharmaceutical Association [GPhA].

The GPA said studies show that “generic drug use has saved the U.S. health care system approximately $1.07 trillion over the past decade (2002 – 2011) with $192.8 billion in savings achieved in 2011 alone.”

In an interview on the Fox Business News channel this week, Andrew Mangione, a senior executive at AMAC, said: “we’re in uncharted territory. These medications are complex and we need some leadership from, not only the administration, but from the FDA.  We need to come up with new standards to determine the generic equivalency of these biologic medications.

“AMAC does not want to see our members’ medical bills, specifically drug costs, go up a penny.  So, there’s a lot of concern.  You’re looking at an older population, who suffer from chronic conditions who are high utilizers of medications.  The federal government has to work in concert with drug organizations to make sure they come up with a fair and equitable solution, but they should not do it on the backs of senior citizens,” Mangione concluded.

The Affordable Care Act encourages increased competition for biologics with medications called biosimilars, he added.  “However, like most of Obamacare’s ‘big ideas,’ Congress neglected to provide any details on how to accomplish this initiative and has effectively pitted Big Pharma against consumers, namely senior citizens living on fixed incomes.”

Weber exhorted members, their families and their friends to call, write and visit their local and federal lawmakers, urging them to protect their access to affordable generic drugs.  “Biosimilar pharmaceuticals may be a special class of drugs, but they represent a potential opening shot in a new war against generics.”

 

NOTE TO EDITORS: Dan Weber is available for telephone interviews on this issue.  Please contact John Grimaldi at 917-846-8485 or jpgrimaldi@verizon.net to set up a chat.

 

ABOUT AMAC

The Association of Mature American Citizens [http://www.amac.us] is a vibrant, vital and conservative alternative to those organizations, such as AARP, that dominate the choices for mature Americans who want a say in the future of the nation.  Where those other organizations may boast of their power to set the agendas for their memberships, AMAC takes its marching orders from its members.  We act and speak on their behalf, protecting their interests, and offering a conservative insight on how to best solve the problems they face today.

 

Read more articles by Daniel C. Weber

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57 Comments on "AMAC: Seniors Are Ultimate Victims Of Newest Attacks On Generic Drugs By Big Pharma"

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Phil
3 years 7 months ago

Frankly, I am suspicious of generics. They are CHEAP! You don’t get something for nothing. That’s what we may be paying for…….nothing! I think the FDA needs to play a larger role in making sure generics are of proper quality and percentages.

Judiev
3 years 7 months ago

No one seems to be addressing the cost of lobbyist’s,political contributions and “gifts” to everyone from docs to congressmen! All of that is added to every pill sold.
I use generics when ever possible. I just can’t afford the brand name drugs. Two of my drugs are still under patent, so I pay the tab. When the generics come on the market-I’ll try them.

I think we need to look at getting big government out of the insurance & price setting business!

Robert Schmitt
3 years 7 months ago
Generic drugs are cheaper than brand name, Why is that? When generics were passed by the government it was stated that the generic could be within twenty per cent above or below the formulation of the brand name. That means your medication is not consistent in dosage. Since generic can go as low as twenty per cent the cost is lower to make. Where do these generics come from? China. These are the people are the people that gave us the poison dog food and lead based toys for kids. The government inspects the US drug industry without prior notification but in China the inspectors must apply well in advance to enter China and those making our drugs are forewarned. I once was given a prescription of generic Vicodin and was very happy to pay the $2.48 instead of the $100 for the brand name. It did not work. Do… Read more »
Les Siegel
3 years 7 months ago

How come Diabetes has become an epidemic ? When I became a Diabetic the threshold number was 130 or above. That was about 15 years ago. That number has now decreased to 105 thus creating more so called Diabetics,and increases the amount of Insulin, and other diabetic medications. Whom is to blame for this ?

chazk1
3 years 7 months ago

the people that really need to take responsibilty are doctors like drjca1 .the agenda of big pharma is to get us on a drug regimen so we need to keep taking more drugs to manage the side effects of the previous drug. drugs don’t cure anything they mask symptoms (by design) they do not address the root cause of illness. you say seniors need to make good choices nutritionally, well Monsanto makes that very hard to do, they have destroyed our soil and genetically engineered a great number of our crops. everything in a can,box,or jar is loaded with chemicals,salt, msg , and corn syrup. seniors are the most responsible people on earth,because they gain wisdom from their longevity.

Angela M. Rosati
3 years 7 months ago

Yes, I agree the food industry is killing us and making us ill with all the additives. Too much high fructose corn syrup, reliable sources are saying that contributes to the diabetes epidemic, especially among children. Also, the food industry is using a lot of tropical oils; namely, palm kernel, coconut and palm oil…which turns into concrete in your veins. Folks, check out the ingredients of your favorite cookie…

Shirley Warren
3 years 7 months ago

Angela, coconut oil is very good for you IF you get the medium chain. I use it a lot. If you get the lg, chain then you are taking the wrong one and that one isn’t good for you.
I hope this is beneficial information for you. Good luck.

Shirley Warren

Marie Justice
3 years 7 months ago

Shirley, what on earth is a cocoanut chain? How do I know what i’m buying?

Charles Franks
3 years 7 months ago

This web site can give you the information Marie
http://www.coconutresearchcenter.org/

Jane Squires
3 years 7 months ago

I did not know there was a generic for Humira. I am stucky with free program as my state government has spend down so high on my Medicaid I cannot get drug otherwise. My doctor is seeing me in free clinic. I have to pay for all my own drugs. Cannot pay a $ 982 spend down each month.

Michael
3 years 7 months ago
I need to find out if there is a different, cheaper drug to control my blood pressure but I am unable to find drug prices so that I can compare costs. My doctor doesn’t know what the various drugs cost. He just tries to find the ones that work the best for me. He prescribes one thing and then I have to go to a pharmacy or pharmacies and ask what they charge and what my insurance will pay so that I can know what it will cost me. If the cost seems to be too high, I have to go back to my doctor and ask him to prescribe something else and then go through the entire routine over again and keep doing this until I find something that, not only works for me, but is something that I can afford. What a joke our pharmaceutical industry is. It… Read more »
Paul
3 years 7 months ago

You guys have to realize that each new drug that comes on the market costs anywhere between $600.00 and $800.00 millions of Dollars. Those Drug companies are working on several new drugs for Cancer and other illnesses. Without it we would not have any of the new drugs we have today. To make generics is cheep and can be made at fraction of the cost of the newly made drug. Look at the alternative Big Pharma is not working to discover and make new drugs for say AIDS and other infectious things, then what would you do

Jan
3 years 7 months ago

Before you leave the dr’s office have one of his staff call the pharmacist at the store you do bussines. If the med is too much they can rewrite the prescription. Most drs want you to be able to take your medicine and will work with you.

Virginia
3 years 7 months ago

I take 120 mg tablets of Verapamil (generic for Calan) for my high blood pressure. I get 120 tablets for $8.00 from my pharmacy. Most nationwide stores (K-Mart, Target, Kroger, WalMart, etc) offer GENERIC drugs for as low as $4.00 for 30 pills.

I’ve been successfully using the Verapamil for about 12 years, plus various other generic meds and have been pleased with the results.

It does pay to compare prices before deciding which pharmacy to use. Once you decide, make sure you purchase ALL your prescription meds from the same place. The pharmacist will warn you if you are prescribel a drug that is not compatible with another drug you are already taking.

Carolyn
1 year 2 months ago

I have been taking Verapamil 120 hcl for over 10 yrs; one in the am and one at night; keeps the palpations in check; my heart races; and good for blood pressure. I will soon be 67 and was told Monday I was taking to many and it exceeds my limit. I have Anthem Ins. I am worried because this works so well for me. Does any one have a suggestion.. I will try Walgreens but has anyone got them cheap there?
Thanks

Gloria
3 years 7 months ago
Instead of going to the pharmacy, have your doctor give you a list of what he thinks would work best — then, call Medicare (or Medicare Advantage, or whatever prescription carrier you have) and ask them if these are covered under your plan and what the cost is with and without the coverage. There should also be a list of covered drugs in the information booklet(s) you have from your carrier or Medicare. If you don’t have a booklet, call them and tell them you need one. I have one, but I still call if I don’t want to roam through all the muddle of the booklet. You can also request your doctor’s office to contact your carrier and appeal that the drug be provided as a “formulary” (that is a permitted drug), if your doctor determines that the drug of preference is the only one that works properly for… Read more »
Dave
3 years 7 months ago

No Michael, I can’t see why people want something like Obamacare. If you think it’s bad now, just wait. Not only is it going to get a lot worse for you and everyone else, it is going to cost you a lot more for it. No thanks pal! You can keep the change.

Michael
3 years 7 months ago
My insurance company covering my Medicare part D meds has sent me letters urging me to try other medications for my high blood pressure. They suggested medications that I had previously tried but did not work until my doctor found one that did work. The insurance company sent me letters urging me to try a mail order pharmacy, saying that I would save money that way. I filled out the paperwork and asked the pharmacy how much I would save. Someone from the pharmacy called my home phone and left a message to phone them. I phoned them and asked for the person who left the message. They told me that she wasn’t available. They said that they would have her call back. She and they never called back. So, I did not order from that pharmacy because they couldn’t or wouldn’t tell me what it would cost me. Now,… Read more »
Margaret
3 years 7 months ago
Michael, you’ve absolutely hit on something that is not discussed, why are drugs going up at such an incredible rate? Why is, for example, low-dose 100 mg Minocin, which was the most commonly prescribed acne drug for millions of teenagers in the 80s and 90s at $.25 per pill, not cost more than $1,000./month? The drug was licensed in the 1980s, its generic form is not as effective, so why does it cost so much? On June 30, 2009, Vice President Joe Biden met with representatives from Big Pharma in the basement of the Willard Hotel in Washington, DC. They met nearly all day. One thing to come out of that was a $185 million ad-buy by Big Pharma to support Obamacare. What did they get in return? Hands off by federal regulators? I’d like some answers. I’d like a Congressional investigation. Or do too many Congressmen rely on Big… Read more »
Gloria
3 years 7 months ago
Michael — it sounds like you are paying for a 90-day mail order supply. Set aside a couple of hours if you can and start calling. Drugs are a lot cheaper if you go mail order. Someone else besides the woman who sent you the letter should have been available to help you. If she is not there, ask to speak to someone who is who is able to help you regarding the letter. As I said in the my previous comment — get someone assertive, if you don’t stand up for yourself and keep bugging people, you will end up broke because there are so many changes and so many different areas involved in doing the paperwork, things get all mixed up. You need to find out what’s going on and insist that your medicines get done correctly at the correct price. I’ve been there, done that. If you… Read more »
8ballnut
3 years 7 months ago

Unfortunately there are a lot of people on here that are spouting off about Big Pharma, without knowing what they are talking about. Medical companies pay huge money to develop and bring a drug to market. Then generic companies come in and reverse engineer the medicines and basically rob the Medical companies of the intellectual property rights.

Learn before you burn a company. Original author included!

Bob
3 years 7 months ago
Maybe they do not 8ballnut but they do understand , are too busy, or too ignorant, that they should be researching “WHY” until they get to the root. Your statement ” Medical companies pay huge money to develop and bring a drug to market.” tells me you are in the same boat. You evidently do not know that Big Pharm spends most of their money you call development is spent trying to put “Alternative drugs” out of business, a lot of it to keep the FDA out of it. I’m sure they call it “advertisement” to take it off their taxes. It’s a well known fact there has been a cure for cancers in the form of a pill consisting of vitamins and minerals (not chemicals) for over 20 years. It was developed by a Russian scientist, who came to America and tried to put it to use. For trying… Read more »
Mar
3 years 7 months ago

go to http://www.knowthecause.com. saw a teenage girl who had bad psoriasis give her testimony about her cure of this. she went on the phase 1 diet, took the nutrition to help get rid of fungus in system, all without taking drugs. The foods that we eat and not having a digestive system that works well is the key to our diseases in our bodies. www,ravediet.com is another good site. Change your diet, change your life.

Clyde Williams
3 years 7 months ago

Yes, Big Pharma spends a lot on research to develop better drugs. Then they get so many years where nobody can market a generic. When that expires the try to buy off other companies that could make the generic so they can keep the generic at a high price.
They alsowill make a small adjustment to their formula and try to get another period of exclusivitity for basically the same drug.
I wonder how many congresspersons Big Pharma owns. That’s why their gredy oractices are allowed to continue. Who do you think makes the laws that require searches at the Canadian border to stop people going there to get the same drugs for a lot less? Congress, that’s who!

ladyrose
3 years 7 months ago

8ballnut,

You have NO CLUE!! Do you work for Big Pharma?? Talk about not being informed; medical companies now push out drugs on a daily basis without doing enough research or research that is incomplete and drugs that are not tested long enough on people or animals, yet they still put them out there and they KILL people, look up the stats! The FDA is one of the biggest lobbies in Washington and does not give a damn about our cost of medicine, especially for seniors; their delusive practices are famous for caring only for the almighty dollar.. Where do you think they get the “huge” money to pay for drug development – its passed on one way or another to the consumer.

Do your homework, get real – the drug companies rob us…they are so powerful that they can crush any “generic” company!!

GranAnn
3 years 7 months ago

Big Pharma surely can’t charge their high prices FOREVER on new drugs. While I understand it takes a long time to develop a new drug and to test it, there has to be a point in time where the costs of the name brand prescriptions can be dropped. I feel that the Pharmas have to learn some compassion along with their products.

Michael
3 years 7 months ago
My son has had severe psoriasis since he was six years old. He is now 29 but lost his job. Over the years he’s tried many different treatments but nothing worked. Five years ago he got into a clinical trial for a drug which worked for him. The FDA finally approved the drug. The drug is now on the market but since the clinical trial is over he must pay for it if he wants to continue. The cost is $4,500 for a single injection and he needs between 2 to 4 injections per year. Since he was laid off and hasn’t been able to find another job yet, he cannot afford to pay for the meds. The pharmaceutical company is cold hearted and won’t give a break in the price. I asked his doctor why this company developed a drug which works but then makes it practically impossible for… Read more »
Gene Scalf
3 years 7 months ago
About 8 – 10 years ago my Cardiolisit prescribed Cumadin to keep my blood thin. He found a small hole between the two compartments of my hart. He suspected it had been there since birth but because of my age (60+) he thought it a good idea to start me on controlled blood thinner. The cost started between $30 & $40 for 90 pills. The price climbed and climbed to $190. A little over 2 years ago when it went to $196, I told the druggest to return it to their stock, I was not going to pay that any more. The drugest told I should not quit, it wasn’t a good idea just quit altogether. He recommended I try Warrfren. I asked how much? 90 pills for $14. I’ve been on Warrfren ever sense without any negative results. It is up to $17. not bad. Can you imagin the… Read more »
Walt
3 years 7 months ago
Dear Mr. Weber: I have a suggestion for the way you characterize the current atmosphere around the ‘BioSimilars’ issue. BTW, I don’t work for a BigPharma company but I do work in the pharmaceutical industry. I work for a start-up, venture funded company developing two drugs, one for depression and one for adult ADHD. Pharmaceutical companies have been competing against generics for decades. They defend their patents, try to extend them at every opportunity, at times through loopholes in the patent landscape as well as the regulations that govern pharmaceuticals. BigPharma isn’t ‘attacking’ generics as your recent AMAC headline emphasized. They are doing what any company, in any industry, would try to do, and that is to respond to competition. The problem in the ‘BioSimilars’ issue isn’t BigPharma, it’s the FDA. Creating a generic ‘biosimilar’ is a daunting technical task. It’s filled with opportunities for error, huge errors. The FDA… Read more »
DrJCA1
3 years 7 months ago
While the idea of “sharing the load” is a terrific solution for everything, when intelligent folks probe deeper into the matter, they come up with a different view quite often. Whether the subject is drugs or cell phone systems, there are those who spend the time and money to create and innovate, and those who feel it’s their right to come along for the ride without any skin in the game. First of all – generics. While these have a place in medicine, they are all definately NOT equal to the original. After 40 year in medicine, I saw the effects of trying to save patients money. Effectiveness, side effects, and the various ways of manufacturing generics play a huge role. One generic may work fine, but a different company makes it a bit differently and bingo, you have problems – perhaps life threatening. Next – cell phones. The large… Read more »
Dave
3 years 7 months ago

Bravo DrJCA1! It sounds to me like some of these people writing here are actually members of those other guys.

Angela M. Rosati
3 years 7 months ago

Dr., you are right when you say people don’t take care of themselves. Denial. But, generic drugs, as per Peoples Pharmacy and letters they receive, are not all that great. Many are manufactured in CHINA!!! Scary. The results of taking these drugs brought on more problems. China doesn’t have the sanitary rules the USA has. They don’t have to abide by any rules or sensible regulations…The Board of Health regulations and soap and water go a long way.

Gabby
3 years 7 months ago

My husband takes generic oxycodone for pain caused by a failed back surgery. Last year it was $6. This year it is $40. What the hell is up with that?

Basement Warrior
3 years 7 months ago
One must be careful, Mr. Weber, to be not so dazzled by the low prices of generics, as to kill the geese laying the golden eggs. Yes, there can indeed be gouging in all aspects of the market, but, one would be wise to also realize that the higher prices of brand name medications protected under patent goes to recoup the cost of research and development, and to expand the companies into new and even more advanced medications. Each time the favor is statutorily shifted either to “big pharma” or the generic houses, as a whole, we are basically either re-investing or consuming, respectively. Money spent towards generic drugs is like resting on your laurels, and at some point we emerge with savings in our pocket but without pharmaceutical progress and has-been treatments. Generic houses do not develop, they only manufacture what other companies have developed. In the extreme example,… Read more »
Glenn Shannon
3 years 7 months ago

First of all a lot of new medicines are developed by universities and then taken over by pharmaceuticals basically for free so don’t try and convince the public they have always spent millions on development. Some huge factors boosting costs are advertisements, high CEO costs and representatives going to doctors to persuade them to use their brand. Canada doesn’t allow all these high cost procedures and thus same medicine costs a lot less. Lets really for once tell the truth instead of using smoke and mirrors.

Basement Warrior
3 years 7 months ago

A lot of new medicines? Name a few, please. What medications have “big pharma” gotten for FREE? And, beyond the research is the major cost contributing to development, the clinical trials. And if they fail, all the investment is lost. I have not heard of any Universities that are in the business of clinical trials, but maybe I’m wrong. Lets really for once tell the truth? …or the truth as you’d like it to be?

Jim Johnson
3 years 7 months ago

The bigger problem is lack of intellectual property rights.

How long is exclusivity granted for?

It depends on what type of exclusivity is granted.
Orphan Drug (ODE) – 7 years
New Chemical (NCE)- 5 years
“Other” Exclusivity – 3 years for a “change” if criteria are met
Pediatric Exclusivity (PED) – 6 months added to existing Patents/Exclusivity
Patent Challenge – (PC) – 180 days (this exclusivity is for ANDAs only)

See 21 C.F.R. 314.1083 New Drug Product Exclusivity

If the drug companies didn’t have to make their money back so fast the consumer’s cost would be lower.

concerned patient
3 years 7 months ago

My biggest problem with generic drugs is that they do not always do the same job that the original name brand did. Point in case, I used to take Lipitor. Now I take the generic … and my cholesterol levels are running higher. My diet and exercise did not change. Just the drug. I am not truly convinced that generics are the ‘end all and be all’ that you are making them out to be.

JeffW
3 years 7 months ago

The problem with generic drugs that my wife and I have encountered is that the generics do not contain the same ingredients as the original drugs. Lower cost ingredients, fillers, coatings, etc. are used which often time have many adverse effects. Both my wife and I have been forced to pay more for the original drug to avoid some really terrible side effects that we’ve experienced with the generics. Also, if anything, generics have forced drug companies to continually change their formulas and do other things to keep the drugs from becoming becoming generic. This and the fact that less people are buying their medicine drives the price up. I enjoy most AMAC articles, but there is another side to this argument.

BobBishop
3 years 7 months ago
To Disruptive Element: As a clinical hospital pharmacist for 40 yrs (also nursing home consultant, compounding, home infusion and drug reseacher, and certified clinical nutritionist) I can tell you that there has never been one case ever litigated where someone was harmed from switching from a brand name to a generic as they both have to adhere to the same standards. However, producing a bio-similar is quite a different matter and is difficult. Who do we seniors trust now to watch out for folks in this complicated arena? Truth……no one, you have to be your own health care provider. It pays to stay healthy. Stop eating the things that make you sick. Switch to a plant based raw diet and 90% of all your chronic diseases will simply go away without doctors, FDA, medicines, or surgeries, I have seen it happen in my own life and in my family and… Read more »
woodward
3 years 7 months ago

the best thing to do is get rid of obama & most of the D

jan
3 years 7 months ago

A great big ‘THANK YOU’. That will not solve all our problems, however it will solve so many, that we will be wallowing in it and it will take a while for us to start to recognize that there remaining problems. I daresay problems without hateful and detrimental intrusion aren’t as hard to address.

KarenFaye
3 years 7 months ago
People should have gotten rid of Obama when they had the opportunity – but, unfortunately for those of us who believe in freedom, hard work, business ethics and the Constitution – we’re stuck with the crook for another 4 years. We older folks will not live to see this country revert back to its greatness and strengths once Obama and his band of merry thieves reduces it to a third world nation. The “affordable” health care won’t effect those who have been using the government as their benefactor for years — but it’s going to be crippling for us over 60. Already, the same drugs we’ve used for years have tripled in cost – and my Rheumatologist will no longer accept Medicare patients. I hope Obamacare will cover the cost of a walker and canes – because I’ll be using them soon. I hope the Liberals and Parasites who voted… Read more »
Disruptive Element
3 years 7 months ago

I understand the cost of medication is a major financial hardship on all. I appreciate the low cost generic drugs and am required to use them by insurance but they are generic low cost for a reason- they are knockoffs of the real thing.. A lot of testing and study goes into drug making including the coating on the pill, the time release etc. Genrics are not as good and I do not blame the drug companies for some fuss over the the manufacture of generics without the oversight of the substitution for the contents. I think AMAC you should do a study on just that subject: Are generics inferior or not? Do the companies that manufacture these which are out of the country have any oversight? That is more useful than stirring up the pot over corporate profits and the usual political talking points to get a reaction.

Jan
3 years 7 months ago

I agree that further research should be done. There are drugs that can not be substituted with generics. Dilantin is one example. The time release factor varies on the genetic version of Dilantin and can result in a lack of seizure control. If you make a big push for generics and Dilantin and other name brand drugs are restricted under the Affordable Care Act you may make things worse for seniors, not better. Tread lightly on this and do your research before making an all inclusive case for generics. Always remember that the doctor is the expert in this area, not the pharmaceutical companies, FDA and not AMAC.

LWDean
3 years 7 months ago

Biosimilar medication, in essence, gives Big Pharma a way to “start over” on the 17 year non-competitive trail, as they now have a “new” formula that takes the place of the old chemical formula, which is set to move from a brand name to being generic. Then, fancy the biosimilar script up by using a new name and a large amount of TV ads, and you can essentially start the high price consumer needs game all over again. Yes, this directly impacts Seniors on fixed income, but it also drives up the cost of Medicare Part D and the cost for millions of those insured, under the age of 65.

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