With US running out of money, Obama turns on Big Pharma

Monday, February 21, 2011 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: Big Pharma, Obama, health news

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(NaturalNews) In an effort to ease the overall budgetary burden in 2012 and reduce the federal deficit, the Obama administration has targeted Big Pharma by going after a few drug industry darling laws for alteration or extinction. The 12-year market exclusivity for patented, brand-name drugs, for instance, could be reduced to seven years under new proposals. And the controversial "pay-for-delay" scheme where brand-name and generic drug makers settle patent disputes in a way that purposely blocks lower-cost rivals from entering the market, could also be eliminated.

During a time when nearly half of the U.S. states are going bankrupt, and the national debt nears $15 trillion, it only seems reasonable and appropriate to cut wasteful spending and reduce the size of government. And setting aside for a moment the fact that Obama's near-trillion-dollar health care scheme will significantly swell the U.S. budget far more than cutting a few drug industry deals will shrink it, proposals to curb Big Pharma's runaway monopoly on the health care industry are commendable.

The Obama administration believes cutting drug patent durations from 12 years to seven years will save $80 million starting in 2015, and up to $2.3 billion from 2012 to 2021. And ending the sweet deal "pay-for-delay" program that benefits only drug company interests will save $540 million beginning in fiscal year 2012, and nearly $8.8 billion through 2021.

Naturally, drug companies, particularly those who rely on such schemes to achieve billion-dollar profits from blockbuster drugs, are up in arms over the proposals. They warn, almost threateningly, that the proposals will stifle innovation and discourage research and development into new therapies. But proponents say the measure will lower the cost of drugs and increase competition.

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