We also note that this legislation includes a family caregiver tax credit to help family caregivers who are providing assistance to their loved ones. AARP strongly supports efforts to support family caregivers. In 2007, about 34 million family caregivers provided care at any given point in time, and about 52 million provided care at some time during the year. The estimated economic value of their unpaid contributions was approximately $375 billion in 2007, up from an estimated $350 billion in 2006.
Creating a Pathway for Safe and Affordable Generic Biologic Drugs
Spending on biologic drugs is growing nearly twice as quickly as spending on traditionally-developed “small molecule” drugs. Overall biologic drug sales reached $75 billion in 2007 , and it is estimated that spending on biologics will continue to increase substantially though 2012.
Biologics treat serious diseases such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis but often cost 10, 15, or even 20 times more than most non-biologic drugs. Users of these often life-saving medications are typically forced to pay exorbitant amounts to treat their conditions.
AARP agrees with the report released just yesterday by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that lacks of competition in the biotech market has resulted in higher costs and less innovation. Another major contributor to the increase in spending on biologics is the lack of a statutory pathway at the Food and Drug Administration to approve generic, or bio-equivalent, biologic drugs.
AARP has endorsed the “Promoting Innovation and Access to Life-Saving Medicine Act (S.726/H.R. 1427),” which would create such a pathway as well as a process for timely patent dispute resolution and we applaud Senators Brown, Collins, Schumer, and Vitter for their leadership in sponsoring this critical legislation.