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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 to set up a chat.



The Association of Mature American Citizens [] 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.


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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.

Robert Schmitt

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

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 ?


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.

Jane Squires

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.


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 »


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 »


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!


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

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 »


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 »


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 »


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

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 »

concerned patient

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.


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.


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 »


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

Disruptive Element

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.


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.