Have you heard about “pay for delay?”

For years the European Commission regulators and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission have opposed the practice of pharmaceutical companies paying their generic competitors to delay bringing a generic drug to market. It’s not illegal in the U.S. to delay introduction, but apparently it is illegal to pay a generic manufacturer to keep a generic off the market permanently.The EU raided Astra Zeneca and Nycomed this week based on information that “pay for delay” was occurring. In the past other pharmaceutical companies, branded and generic, have been the subject of investigations both in Europe and the U.S.I was quoted on behalf of The Global Healthy Living Foundation in a statement delivered to The Hill in Washington, D.C. in which I said:“We believe strongly in the need to make low cost drugs available to the public as soon as possible whether they are generic or branded. This will inevitably lead to lower costs to the patient, as well as the taxpayer, and provide additional options to the prescriber when treating a patient. “We are in a budget-centric healthcare environment, and payers especially, are cutting costs by reducing access to medications through fail first and switching policies. Along with these policies, “pay for delay” needs to be investigated, and the offenders need to be prosecuted. There is no room in healthcare reform for these kinds of abuses. It’s the patient and the taxpayer who will suffer, and these people are the ones who are least able to endure more pain,” said Louis Tharp, executive director, Global Healthy Living Foundation.I will keep you updated on how this issue progresses, especially in the U.S.

Interested in swimming? Louis Tharp has written a book about his experience coaching the West Point triathlon team. Learn more about his coaching and his own competitive swimming achievements at www.overachieversdiary.com

Louis Tharp is also the swim coach for professional triathlete and West Point graduate, Nicholas Sterghos. Learn more about Nicholas at www.nicholassterghos.com

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