Generic drugmakers protest paying in for health reform

Looked at it one way, generic drug manufacturers are getting quite a break when it comes to financing health reform. Under the Senate Finance Committee bill approved last week, the hospital industry would pay in $155 billion to help pay for reform, health insurers almost $120 billion, devicemakers $40 billion and branded-drugmakers $80 billion.

Meanwhile, generic drug makers are only being asked for $460 million over the next 10 years."Generics are getting off pretty light while everyone else gets whacked," said Joe Kelley, a lobbyist for Eli Lilly and Co., the nation's fourth largest brand-name drug maker.

The generics makers, for their part, argue that the $460 million--funded by additional refunds to Medicaid programs--is a threat to their industry. They say that such added costs will result in fewer companies making generics.

Still, it seems likely that no matter what Congress does, the generics folks will do well. The number of generic prescriptions in the U.S. rose 5.4 percent last year, three times faster than branded drugs, though the value of sales fell 2.7 percent because of falling prices, according to IMS Health.

To learn more about the generic industry's complaints:
- read this Kaiser Health News piece

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