The Q&A: Improving Timely Access to Generic Drugs

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<p>The availability of generic drugs saves the U.S. health care system billions of dollars each year. Nevertheless, brand-name drug manufacturers employ a number of strategies to delay generic competitors from entering the market — from acquiring secondary patents for minor drug modifications to restricting access to drug samples needed to produce generics. These strategies keep drug prices higher than they would be otherwise.</p><p>For our new Q&A, we spoke with Commonwealth Fund grantee Aaron S. Kesselheim, M.D., a pharmaceutical researcher and regulatory expert with Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School and the Program on Regulation, Therapeutics, and Law. Kesselheim discussed the need to balance brand-name drugmakers’ desire to earn an adequate return on their investment with the imperative to ensure consumers have timely access to lower-cost generics. </p> Read the Q&A