Biotechs eager for FDA approval of biogeneric drugs

For years, the biotechnology industry has fought hard against legislative changes that would allow the FDA to approve generic versions of biotech medications. On the opposite side of the ring are a variety of interest groups, including the AARP. These groups hope to see cheaper alternatives become available to costly brand-name biologics, which treat diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and cancer but can cost upwards of $100,000 per year in some cases. Now, however, the industry has made a complete turnaround, and is eager to get such legislation passed in 2008.

Biotech industry advocates say they want a measure passed this year because they're concerned that this year's elections won't be kind to their interests. This way, at least, they can have more say in how such legislation is written, advocates say. However, some observers say that while the biotechs will win more friends with their new attitude, they're not likely to see legislation enacted until 2009. I have no doubt that they'll still throw all they've got at getting a bill through this year, though.

To get more background on this issue:
- read this Associated Press piece

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