Like Scrooge and the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present and Future, Rep. John Campbell (R-Newport Beach) is about to host some seasonal visitors.
Singing traditional Christmas carols set to new lyrics, members of UC Irvine's chapter of Universities Allied for
Essential Medicines (UAEM) plan to serenade Campbell's Newport Center office Tuesday. A worldwide, student-run organization that works to increase
access to basic medical technologies and to promote research for neglected
diseases, UAEM draws local students from UCI's schools of law and medicine.
The main concern UAEM members want to convey to Campbell is their displeasure with the “disingenuous” generic biologics bill being slipped
into more broad healthcare reform packages.
“While Congress is engrossed in the debate for national health care
reform, the pharmaceutical industry is awaiting an enormous windfall from their
so-called 'generic biologics bill' that has found its way into reform bills in
both the House and the Senate,” explains UAEM.
Competition from generic drugs in the market drive down national health-care costs, but a bill known as Sec. 2575, HR3692, “Licensure
Pathway for Biosimilar Biological Products,” would impede generic
production of biologic treatments by granting 12-year data exclusivity to the
primary sponsor of new products. Further, the exclusivity could easily be renewed at the end of the 12-year period, translating
to an essentially-indefinite branding of these therapeutics.
“With prices for these treatments ranging from
$48,000/year for breast cancer (Herceptin) to upwards of $200,000/year for
Gaucher's Disease (Cerezyme), this means billions of dollars of overpayment
await us if we do not act now,” warns UAEM.
The Campbell caroling is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday at his district office at 610 Newport Center Drive, Ste. 330, Newport Beach.
OC Weekly Editor-in-Chief Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the alternative newsweekly’s first calendar editor.