A solution to bringing down drug prices – as proposed in the President’s Blueprint and by leaders from both parties in Congress – is more competition from generic and biosimilar medicines. Biosimilars are FDA-approved, affordable alternatives to the highest cost medicines – branded biologics.
The proposed new trade agreement with Mexico and Canada (USMCA) runs counter to this effort and harms the development of biosimilars in the U.S.
The U.S. Trade Representative and Congress can work together to improve the USMCA by increasing patient access to affordable medicines. Without action, monopolies for branded biologics will be extended and prices will be out of reach for millions of patients for longer.
The Fix: Increase Patient Access to Affordable Medicines
We support trade agreements that balance the need for pharmaceutical innovation with your access to these critical medicines.
Improving the USMCA by increasing patient access to more affordable generic and biosimilar medicine is possible. Policies to ensure generic and biosimilar medicines are made available at the earliest possible date will increase competition and lower drug prices.
Fact: USMCA Extends Brand Monopolies
The U.S. has the highest drug prices in the world and the most expensive drugs are branded biologics. Branded biologics – like Humira® and Remicade® – are driving pharmaceutical spending growth.
- Spending on branded biologics grew by 12.6 percent in 2017 and now totals $120 billion (IQVIA)
- Branded biologics and specialty drugs now comprise almost 40 percent of all spending on prescription drugs in the U.S (IQVIA)
- Patients could have saved $4.5 billion in 2017 if FDA-approved biosimilars were available for purchase (Food and Drug Administration)
Fact: Competition Lowers Drug Prices
Competition from generic and biosimilar medicines results in lower drug prices for patients. According to the FDA, competition from generics results in prices 80 percent less than the brand drug.
- The average cost of a generic drug was $6.48 in 2017
- Out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs declined 17% last year as patients use of generic drugs increased
- Patient savings from biosimilars has the potential to reach $54 billion