A highly targeted lobbying and advertising campaign by the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries paid off this week when a Senate panel writing health care reform legislation swung their way on the issue of biologic drugs.
The drugmakers' campaign focused on several key Democrats on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee with a message largely based on how their industry creates and keeps jobs back home.
The industries were pushing for at least 12 years of market exclusivity for some of their most lucrative biotech drugs before the products could face competition from generics.
They got it, but since the matter will continue in the House and Senate, neither they nor their opponents are resting.
A coalition of seniors, consumer groups, pharmacy benefit managers and health insurers support language that would provide fewer years of exclusivity before competing generic biologics could enter the marketplace - and presumably drive down costs. An amendment by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) would have granted about five to seven years of monopoly.
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