Rep. John Campbell to Get Christmas Visit From the Ghost of Pharmaceutical Plunder Present

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Rep. John Campbell to host carolers.
Like Scrooge and the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present and Future, Rep. John Campbell (R-Newport Beach) is about to host some seasonal visitors.

Singing traditional Christmas carols set to new lyrics, members of UC Irvine's chapter of Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM) plan to serenade Campbell's Newport Center office Tuesday. A worldwide, student-run organization that works to increase access to basic medical technologies and to promote research for neglected diseases, UAEM draws local students from UCI's schools of law and medicine.

The main concern UAEM members want to convey to Campbell is their displeasure with the "disingenuous" generic biologics bill being slipped into more broad healthcare reform packages.

"While Congress is engrossed in the debate for national health care reform, the pharmaceutical industry is awaiting an enormous windfall from their so-called 'generic biologics bill' that has found its way into reform bills in both the House and the Senate," explains UAEM.

Competition from generic drugs in the market drive down national health-care costs, but a bill known as Sec. 2575, HR3692, "Licensure Pathway for Biosimilar Biological Products," would impede generic production of biologic treatments by granting 12-year data exclusivity to the primary sponsor of new products. Further, the exclusivity could easily be renewed at the end of the 12-year period, translating to an essentially-indefinite branding of these therapeutics.

"With prices for these treatments ranging from $48,000/year for breast cancer (Herceptin) to upwards of $200,000/year for Gaucher's Disease (Cerezyme), this means billions of dollars of overpayment await us if we do not act now," warns UAEM.

The Campbell caroling is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday at his district office at 610 Newport Center Drive, Ste. 330, Newport Beach.
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