AARP fights for generic biologic drugs

The AARP has stepped into the fight over biologic drugs, throwing its support behind a new bill designed to speed the development and approval of generic versions of these medications. The measure, The Access to Life-Saving Medicine Act of 2007, would provide the FDA with a regulatory approach for approving generic biologics. The bill is intended to offer cheaper alternatives to biologic drugs, which treat diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and cancer. Brand-name biologics are hugely expensive, with prices for some exceeding $100,000 per year. Given these costs, some insurers are demanding that patients try cheaper drugs before taking existing biologics. Generic biologics, however, could address this problem to some degree, supporters say, offering a cheaper alternative for treating chronic diseases. Encouraged by the potential for cost savings, big employers are backing the measure as well.

To get more background on the struggle:
- read this United Press International article

PLUS: The AARP is launching a newspaper and radio campaign in 10 states, as well as Washington, DC, backing a new bill which would allow the federal government to negotiate Medicare drug prices with drugmakers. Article