A generic drug founding father not happy with pay-to-delay pharma deals

Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., questions witnesses during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. President-elect Obama has said he wants to act quickly on climate change but crucial bipartisan support could erode if Waxman succeeds at unseating Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., as chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

Rep. Henry Waxman (D.- Calif.) is one of the founding fathers of the generic drug industry.

Waxman, of the Hatch-Waxman amendments, helped push for changes in U.S. pharmaceutical laws in 1984 to spur the development of generic drugs.

Waxman did not do that to enrich generic drug companies. He wanted Americans to pay less for prescription medicine, either as a patient or as a taxpayer.

What he didn't imagine was the reverse payment or pay-to-delay agreements made between branded and generic drug companies. Those deals will be debated before the Supreme Court on March 25. Wednesday's Inquirer story on that is here.

Waxman might have been rooting for generic companies in 1984, but he is not in this case.

A friend-of-the-court brief filed on behalf of Waxman by the consumer group Public Citizen said such agreements were “a significant obstacle to the fulfillment of important public policies,” and the legislation “sought to speed the introduction of generic competitors to brand-name drugs, not to facilitate anticompetitive agreements among pharmaceutical companies to keep generics off the market.”

A link to Waxman's brief and others in the case can be found here, courtesy of the American Bar Association.