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Investigation into huge price increases for generics in the US Posted 21/11/2014

Two US Congressmen have sent letters to 14 drug manufacturers, including several major Indian firms, requesting information about the escalating prices they have been charging for generics.

The 14 generics companies who have received letters include Indian pharma majors such as Sun Pharmaceutical Industries (Sun Pharma), Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, and Zydus Pharmaceuticals USA (a subsidiary of India-based Cadila Pharmaceuticals). US companies included in the investigation are Actavis, Heritage Pharmaceuticals, Lannett Company, Marathon Pharmaceuticals, Mylan, Par Pharmaceutical Companies, and West-Ward Pharmaceutical. Canada-based Apotex, Ireland-based Endo International, China-based Global Pharmaceuticals, and Israel-based Teva Pharmaceutical Industries have also received letters.

The action comes in response to recent reports of price hikes in generics. For example, a report by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists found that half of all generics sold through retailers became more expensive during the 12 months July 2013–July 2014. In fact, the prices paid by pharmacies more than doubled for one out of 11 generics, and in the case of the antibiotic tetracycline and the blood pressure pill captopril exceeded 17,000%.

US Senator Bernie Sanders and US Congressman Elijah E Cummings point to ‘staggering price increases’ in the range of 390–8,200% across 10 products and have asked the 14 generics makers to submit detailed information.

‘It is unacceptable that Americans pay, by far, the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. Generic drugs were meant to help make medications affordable for the millions of Americans who rely on prescriptions to manage their health needs. We’ve got to get to the bottom of these enormous price increases,’ Sanders said.

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Source: Indian Business Standard, US Senate, WSJ

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