When it comes to faster access to drugs, first do no harm

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Over 60 percent of Americans want the government to take action to lower prescription drug prices — and Congress, for once, is listening to voters.

Lawmakers are pushing forward two pieces of parallel legislation, the Senate’s Creating and Restoring Equal Access to Equivalent Samples (CREATES) Act and another House bill the Fair Access for Safe and Timely (FAST) Generics Act of 2017.

Both aim to provide a series of new legal provisions will make it easier for drug companies to introduce generic alternatives, thus spurring competition and bringing down prices. Both are well intentioned. Unfortunately, they’re worded poorly – leading to dangerous unintended consequences. Instead of bringing generics to market sooner, these bills could endanger patients’ lives and encourage costly, needless litigation.

To protect consumers, the Food and Drug Administration requires that new drugs undergo a series of clinical trials to prove their safety and effectiveness before entering the market. Generic drugs must also complete clinical trials, but only to prove they’re clinically equivalent to the already-approved brand-name drug. The generic drug creation process inherently requires that manufacturers obtain brand-name drug samples from innovators for comparative testing.


 
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