Generic drug approvals soar, but nearly half the meds aren't for sale in US

Although there has been a jump in FDA generic drug approvals in the last two years, nearly half of the medications are not sold in the U.S., according to a Kaiser Health News report.

Since January 2017, more than 1,600 generic drugs have been approved, about a third more than the FDA approved the two years prior. The increase in approvals is partially due to an aggressive push by the Trump administration to spur more competition among drugmakers.

Despite the increase of generic approvals, more than 700, or 43 percent, of those generics are not on the market, according to the report. And 36 percent of the generics that would be the first to compete against a brand-name drug are not yet for sale.  

Some of the approved generics that have not made their way to the U.S. market include a blood thinner, Brilinta, and HIV medication Truvada.

Experts blame several factors, including a tactic used by brand-name manufacturers called "pay for delay" whereby they pay generic drugmakers to delay the launch of their drugs. The FTC estimates this tactic costs consumers $3.5 billion per year.

The expense of patent litigation and generic drug industry consolidation are also partially to blame for the delay in bringing generics to the U.S., the report says.

Read the full report here.

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