In Washington there has been an increase in urgency regarding large drug corporations paying off their competitors to delay generic drugs from being released. President Obama, the American Medical Association, and other consumer groups stressed the importance of lowering costs for those who can barely afford their prescriptions to the Supreme Court.
The large drug manufacturers argue that they need more money to replace the funds which go towards the research and development of new drugs and patents. These pay-for-delay deals happen when generic drug companies claim that the patent on a drug is flawed or invalid so they may formulate a cheaper version. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) often gives these large pharmaceutical companies 20-year monopolies, which the generic companies try to get their cheaper version on the market before the patent expires.
The large companies are not too thrilled about these sorts of lawsuits, as years of litigation are likely to ensue which often results in a compromise. The generic suppliers usually release their drug in a few years, allowing the big pharma company to receive all of the revenue for the drug. The compromise usually involves a hefty settlement to the generic drug company.
The US is now trying to get these generic drugs faster, even though both companies seem to benefit from the pay-to-delay, the American people are the ones in consideration. The FTC claims that this new legislation could make the drug industry less competitive but it could mean more savings for the government. In 2011, US tax payers and patients saved $193 billion dollars through the use of generic drugs.