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Welcome to the Pharm

Biotech firms are in a fighting mood. Their generic competitors are behaving as if they cared. Thus we have the war few want to speak of: the lobbying war!

Here are the facts in brief: Biotech firms, a growing industry in the world of pharmaceuticals, have been producing more complex type of drugs known as biological drugs (known in the industry as biologics).    Biotech firms believe that the generic variants should not be used as substitutes due to the degree of complexity of biologics (biologics are made of living cells instead of chemicals).  Unlike in seeder underbellies of the pharmy world (e.g. Prozac and Lipitor), generic competitors are unable to perfectly replicate the biological structure of the biologics; for this reason generics in the biodrug world are known as biosimilars.

Biologics have been incredibly effective, but also very expensive.  Generics are less effective but affordable, and would cut into biologics’ revenue. As you have figured out from watching the Super Bowl, one reason generics are cheaper is their lack of advertising.

Devilishly, biotechs have started lobbying to limit generics two years ahead of the date when biosimilars could enter the U.S. market.  Biotech firms hope to disallow substitution of the biosimilars for the biologics (and disallow doctors from suggesting the biosimilars as possible substitutes).

Moreover, biotechs are working hard to undermine the federal bill known as Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, which established rules for adding competition to the biotechnology drug market, by lobbying at the state level for state legislation favorable to them.

So, here is the climax:  Insurance companies want cheaper drugs.  Biotech firms don’t.  People want cheaper drugs.  Biotech firms don’t.  The federal government wants cheaper drugs.  Biotech firms don’t.  Biotech firms swear they are protecting patients; they claim that biosimilars don’t have the same drug properties…But what wouldn’t they say for billions of dollars?