Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Follow-On Blackjack: Place Your Exclusivity Bets

What will be the length of the brand exclusivity provided as part of a possible follow-on biologics pathway? At the moment, it looks like the generic camp is holding the low cards, but pharmaceutical firms should always watch their chips when Henry Waxman's at the table.

This week will see a lot of cards being shown; the Senate HELP committee mark-up that seemed like it would never end actually just voted on follow-on biologics and endorsed the 12 years of brand exclusivity offered by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. Hatch apparently had a better hand than Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., who had endorsed 12 years last year but recently offered language starting with only nine, building up to 13.5 in exchange for additional studies, and Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., who had offered slightly lower numbers. They both ended up voting for Hatch's amendment.

On the other side of the Capitol, it feels like the Commerce Committee markup might never start. Brand firms feel that Chairman Waxman, D-Calif., who offers only a total of six years of exclusivity, is dealing from the bottom of the deck. Meanwhile, Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., is offering the brand jackpot of 14.5. President Obama, for his part, prefers lucky number seven.

It's enough to challenge even a seasoned card counter, so we thought we'd open the prognosticating up to you. Tell up how long you think the reward for innovation will end up being. If a health reform bill with FOBs does pass, we'll pick one of the winning entries at random to receive a framed, signed copy of this blog post. (Note: To receive the prize, winner will need to print this post, buy a frame, and forge the IVB signature.)

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image from flickr user waffler used under a creative commons license

1 comment:

Rachel Chu said...

For anyone interested in further reading on the issue of biosimilars, see the Stockholm Network's latest paper in our series on patient safety: Biogenerics or Biosimilars? Discussing the Present, Considering the Future.

In this paper, Rachel Chu and Dr Meir Pugatch explore the issue of biosimilars and their impact on healthcare policymaking. They examine the various challenges that the advent of biosimilars raises, particularly with regard to the regulatory framework, market opportunities, IPRs and most importantly of all, with regard to public safety.

The paper takes four of the most relevant pathways as case studies, namely the EU, WHO, Canada and the US (where legislation is still under way), and evaluates in particular whether these pathways have resolved the safety and IP dilemmas. Finally, it presents several policy recommendations, which should allow more clarity and predictability for those wishing to enter the market as well as providing enhanced scientific rigour, in the interests of patients.

To view the paper, please visit:

To view the executive summary, please visit: