Source: The Independent
"We will lower drug costs by allowing the importation of safe medicines from other developed countries, increasing the use of generic drugs in public programmes and taking on drug companies that block cheaper generic medicines from the market." The wording of President Obama's healthcare policy could not be clearer and should send a shiver through the boardroom of every major pharmaceutical group in the world.
For some time, the big players in the drugs market have faced a simple problem. Treatments that the likes of Pfizer, Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) have spent years and millions of dollars developing are increasingly coming under threat from the generics companies, which invest nearly as much energy in challenging patents and developing cheaper alternatives. The established groups may consider the generics firms parasitical, but the likes of Barack Obama and the European Commission are tiring of the big beasts hiding behind patents ensuring that healthcare is more expensive to the ultimate user.
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