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You are here News Health Generic drug makers: Law loophole gives Big Pharma a competetive edge

Generic drug makers: Law loophole gives Big Pharma a competetive edge

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Generic drugs fight Big PharmaThere’s a usual route for firms that want to market a generic drug: Buy samples of the brand-name version and run tests to show regulators that the generic is identical. If the firms can’t get their hands on the samples, they can’t get to the starting line.

A growing number of generic drug makers say they’re getting shut of the race because of a loophole in the law that gives their brand-name rivals a competitive edge.

At issue are brand-name drugs that are prone to abuse or pose such grave health risks that federal regulators approve them only if the drug maker agrees to tightly control their distribution — providing them only to hospitals, for instance.

Therein lies the rub. These restrictions, which are imposed by the Food and Drug Administration on a case-by-case basis, block the flow of drugs to the wholesalers that generic firms rely on for their must-have samples. Critics say the brand-name drug makers are using these restrictions as an excuse for denying competitors access to the products and warn the practice is bound to become more entrenched and widespread.

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