A Senate Committee will meet with Dr. Robert Califf, the president’s pick to head up the Food and Drug Administration, on Tuesday morning.
One of the most pressing problems facing the agency is boosting competition in the generic drug market. Right now, it takes a long time to bring a generic drug to market — 48 months, according to the Generic Pharmaceutical Association.
“That means instead of having a generic drug on the market in a year, it’s taking four years,” said Yale health economist Fiona Scott Morton. “That’s three years we don’t have price competition for that medication.”
Getting one generic onto the market she says, can cut costs by as much as a third. And getting four or five competitors can cut costs by as much as 80 percent.
“It’s a massive savings,” she said.
Manufacturers peg the backlog of generic drugs at more than 4000, all while pharmaceutical spending increases. The FDA said additional funding has helped double approvals this year, with more than 500 generics getting to market.
“I think that’s a start,” said Harvard’s Dr. Aaron Kesselheim.
Kesselheim said given the value of generics, he hopes Senators push Califf on his plan to get as many of these drugs to market ASAP.
If you’re a member of your local public radio station, we thank you — because your support helps those stations keep programs like Marketplace on the air. But for Marketplace to continue to grow, we need additional investment from those who care most about what we do: superfans like you.
Your donation — as little as $5 — helps us create more content that matters to you and your community, and to reach more people where they are – whether that’s radio, podcasts or online.
When you contribute directly to Marketplace, you become a partner in that mission: someone who understands that when we all get smarter, everybody wins.