U.S. Senators Tina Smith, Mike Braun Reintroduce Bipartisan Bill To Address Big Pharma Ploy that Keeps Drug Prices High for Consumers

WASHINGTON, D.C. [10/4/21]— U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Mike Braun (R-Ind.) reintroduced bipartisan legislation to address a big pharma ploy that prevents access to affordable prescription drugs for millions of people across the country. The Expanding Access to Low-Cost Generics Act—which was the first piece of Senate legislation introduced by Sen. Smith in 2018—addresses an anti-competitive prescription drug practice called “parking.

“Parking” occurs when a brand name manufacturer agrees not to sue the first company that submits an application to create a generic version of that drug—a so-called “first filer”—as long as the generic company agrees to delay bringing that generic drug to market. No other company can bring a generic version of a brand name drug to market until 180 days after the first filer has done so.  These anti-competitive agreements among drug companies allow fewer lower-cost generic products to come to market and keep prices higher for consumers.

Right now at least 75 percent of “first filer” generic products have delayed their market entry due to “parking” arrangements with brand-name companies. The Senators’ bipartisan bill takes major steps toward eliminating this practice. 

“When I travel around Minnesota, the high price of prescription drugs is always one of the first things families and seniors talk to me about,” said Sen. Smith, a member of the Senate Health Committee. “This bill takes important steps toward ending anti-competitive practices that big pharmaceutical companies exploit to keep drug prices high and unaffordable for people in Minnesota and across the country.” 

“Everywhere I go in Indiana, the issue I hear about the most is the price of prescription drugs. That’s why I’m proud to sign on to Senator Smith’s bill to expand access to low-cost generic drugs and get more of these affordable prescription alternatives to market for Hoosiers,” said Sen. Braun.

Sens. Smith and Braun’s Expanding Access to Low-Cost Generics Act would solve the “parking” problem by:

  • Allowing generic companies that are not first filers the ability to receive 180-day market exclusivity if the first filer does not come to market after a specified time-frame.
  • Changing the incentive structure for generic companies so that first filers rush to come to market rather than “park” their products. 
  • Stopping the bottleneck of generic products waiting to come to market.

You can read a summary of the bill here.