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Statement by AARP's David Sloane on the Supreme Court Ruling in the Schering-Plough V. FTC (K-Dur Drug Case)

Following is a statement by David P. Sloane, AARP’s Senior Managing Director, Government Relations and Advocacy:

AARP is disappointed by the U.S. Supreme Court decision today not to review the K-Dur prescription drug case.

The agreement between the drug companies in this case delayed entry of a generic drug into the market that would increase price competition and lead to lower prices. This case would have helped resolve whether or not this type of agreement, paying a competitor not to produce a product, is illegal under antitrust law.

Bringing generics to market in timely fashion is essential for slowing the runaway train of high drug costs. In the United States, spending on prescription drugs went from $40 billion in 1990 to $179 billion in 2003, and older Americans paid almost half of that. Studies show that older and chronically ill people go without the drugs they need when costs are too high. That’s why generics are so important.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, the average price of a brand-name drug was $72 in 2003, while its generic twin cost $17. The most recent AARP “RX Watchdog” report found that brand name drug prices surged nearly four percent during the first quarter of this year, while generic drug prices did not increase.

For these and other reasons, AARP supported the Federal Trade Commission’s request for Supreme Court review of the K-Dur case.

AARP also has filed a friend of the court brief supporting plaintiffs in a case raising the same issue with respect to the breast cancer drug Tamoxifen that is before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

The issue could come before the Supreme Court again in the Tamoxifen case, which also involves what AARP believes is an anti-competitive agreement.

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