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How to Make New Drugs More Affordable




Want lower drug prices? Get more competition in drugs. Devon Herrick writes: “A little over a decade ago, many in the public health community began asserting that follow-on or “me-too” drugs offer little added benefit and are a waste of resources that would be better spent to research novel drug therapies. The FDA seemingly took this criticism to heart; in recent years it has fast-tracked approval of new, first-in-class drugs thought to show promise. Yet, as with any new drug, a “me-to drug” could take up to 15 years to research, develop and obtain FDA approval. A drug that comes to market one year after a first-in-class drug could have been first-in-class if that research and development team had been just a little faster. Thus, when the FDA discourages me-too drugs it is discriminating against every competitor that did not cross the finish line first. As a result, approvals for expensive drugs to treat rare diseases are at a historic high while approvals of me-too drugs are down. This limits competition within drug classes, leading to higher prices, and limits patient choices—something the FDA is just beginning to acknowledge.”

More at National Center for Policy Analysis


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