U.S. PIRG Federal Program Director Testifies on “Pay for Delay” Before Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights
Mike Russo Urges Lawmakers to Put a Stop to Drug Industry Payoffs that Inflate Drug Prices
Today, Mike Russo, U.S. PIRG’s Federal Program Director, testified at a hearing on “Pay-for-Delay Deals: Limiting Competition and Costing Consumers” held by the Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition and Consumer Rights.
“Because of these pay for delay deals, Americans pay inflated drug prices, or go without needed medication,” said Russo. “These payoffs need to stop.”
The Supreme Court ruled last month that these deals may violate antitrust law and opened drug makers to lawsuits over these payoffs. Russo pointed out that while the ruling holds out the hope for some consumers to be compensated for the harm they’ve suffered because of inflated drug prices, it is necessary for Congress to take action to protect consumers.
“We can’t wait for years – perhaps a decade – for litigation to solve this problem,” said Russo. “Consumers need relief now.”
U.S. PIRG and Community Catalyst recently released Top Twenty Pay-for-Delay Drugs: How Drug Industry Payoffs Delay Generics, Inflate Prices and Hurt Consumers, a report detailing how these payoffs affect millions of Americans.
The report found that pay-for-delay deals have affected drugs used by patients with a wide range of serious or chronic conditions, ranging from cancer and heart disease to depression and bacterial infection. Consequences for patients were significant – on average, the brand-name drug was 10 times more expensive than its generic competition. In one instance, the brand-name drug was 33 times more expensive.
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U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups, is a consumer group that stands up to powerful interests whenever they threaten our health and safety, our financial security, or our right to fully participate in our democratic society.