FDA commissioner criticizes big pharma for stalling introduction of cheaper drugs

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, slammed drugmakers, accusing them of using "gaming tactics" to stall biosimilars, a move that cost the U.S. healthcare system billions of dollars last year, Bloomberg reports.

The criticism by the FDA chief came as the agency laid out a plan to end moves drugmakers have made for years, such as piling up patents to extend the dominance of a brand name medication.

"The branded drug industry didn’t build its success by being business naïve. They are smart competitors. But that doesn’t mean we need to embrace all of these business tactics, or agree that they’re appropriate," Dr. Gottlieb said in a speech announcing the agency's Biosimilars Action Plan.

Dr. Gottlieb said the agency plans to work with the Federal Trade Commission to end the "toxic" tactics preventing biosimilars from entering the market. He also urged Congress to help close loopholes allowing drugmakers to hinder competition in the making of these drugs.

"Competition is, for the most part, anemic," Dr. Gottlieb said.

The FDA's effort to increase competition is part of President Donald Trump's blueprint for decreasing drug prices in the U.S.

Read the full report here.

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