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CCPM: Congress places branded drug companies' interests ahead of patients


WASHINGTON Of everyone receiving gifts during the holiday season, branded drug companies are getting the biggest boxes under the tree, a coalition of healthcare companies and other large employers charged.

On Thursday, the Coalition for a Competitive Pharmaceutical Market launched a print and electronic ad campaign in the District of Columbia and some other states saying that the healthcare-reform legislation going through Congress places the interests of branded drug companies above those of patients by restricting their access to generic drugs and biosimilars.

"We all want to see healthcare reform, but real reform means increased access to affordable medicines and reductions in cost," CCPM executive director Katie Huffard said in a statement. "With generic medicines saving the healthcare system $1 billion every three days, Congress should be increasing, not decreasing, access to affordable generic and biogeneric medicines."

The CCPM comprises such major employers as the General Motors Corp. and healthcare companies including chain pharmacies, pharmacy benefit managers, health insurers, generic drug makers and industry associations.

"Currently, the healthcare-reform bill is a treasure trove for brand pharmaceutical companies," said president and CEO Kathleen Jaeger of the Generic Pharmaceutical Association, a member of the CCPM. "It not only delays patient access to lifesaving biogeneric medicines; it encourages older Americans to use more costly branded drugs in the Medicare program."

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