WASHINGTON (AP) - Two senators want to do away with the agreements that pharmaceutical companies make with one another to keep lower-priced generic copies of brand-name drugs off the market.
Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Republican Charles Grassley of Iowa say such "pay-for-delay" deals force consumers to pay higher prices for critical drugs. Their bill would make such agreements illegal unless the companies can prove in court that they aren't anti-competitive.
Grassley says Congress, in his words, "should be doing all we can to see that the American consumer has access to lower-priced drugs as soon as possible."
Representatives of the pharmaceutical industry tell a Senate antitrust subcommittee chaired by Klobuchar that the agreements sometimes shorten the time for generic drugs to reach the market, particularly in patent disputes.