Leigh Purvis is a senior strategic policy advisor with the AARP Public Policy Institute. Her work focuses on a variety of prescription drug and mental health-related issues, with a particular emphasis on prescription drug pricing, biologic drugs and Medicare Part D. She also co-authors the Public Policy Institute's Rx Price Watch reports.

FTC Raises Concerns About Efforts to Blunt Rx Competition

Biologic drugs are often used to treat health conditions that affect older populations – diseases such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. Derived from living organisms, biologics have an estimated average cost of $35,000 a year, which is far more than that of traditional, chemically derived drugs. Congress recently granted the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authority to approve less expensive generic versions of biologic drugs, known as biosimilars or follow-on biologics. But while the FDA continues to work …

Efforts to Protect Lipitor from Generic Competition: Cause for Concern?

A new Rx Price Watch report examines the strategies reportedly used by Pfizer to try to maintain revenue and market share for its popular anti-cholesterol drug Lipitor as its patent expired. Pfizer’s tactics raise important concerns for consumers and publicly funded programs like Medicare. The patent for Lipitor was originally expected to expire no later than June 2011 after 14 years on the market. In response, Pfizer reportedly developed an unprecedented strategy to protect and extend Lipitor sales, which included: …

State Laws Could Hamper Savings from Biosimilar Drugs

  Many consumers have benefited from the recent increase in brand-name drugs that are going off patent, allowing less expensive generic drugs to enter the market.  The same may happen with a new type of drugs known as biologics – but only if the generic versions of these drugs are allowed to reach consumers. Biologic drugs are medicines derived from living organisms that are often used to treat health conditions that commonly affect older populations, such as cancer, multiple sclerosis …

Pay-for-Delay Agreements and Prescription Drug Costs

  Brand-name pharmaceutical companies can delay generic competition by paying a generic competitor to hold its competing product off the market for a certain period of time. These “pay-for-delay” agreements benefit both parties: the brand-name manufacturer can continue to charge monopoly prices, and the generic company is compensated for its inaction. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) estimates that pay-for-delay agreements cost American consumers $3.5 billion per year. The Justice Department has challenged these agreements as anti-competitive and the Supreme Court …