TAXPAYER WATCHDOG GROUP BLASTS FDA FOR PLAYING POLITICS WITH PREMARIN

For Immediate Release Contact: Jim Campi
August 18, 1997 (202) 467-5300

 

(Washington, D.C.) – Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) today released a special in-depth report that analyzes attempts by drug manufacturers to market a generic form of Premarin.  The report, entitled Premarin, Politics, and the Public Health, blasts the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for allowing the process to be manipulated by partisan politics.

“A generic version of Premarin would save consumers approximately $300 million a year and reduce costs to both Medicare and Medicaid,” remarked CAGW President Thomas A. Schatz.  “Yet despite these benefits, the FDA chose to sacrifice science and the public health on the altar of political accommodation.”

 For women suffering from symptoms of menopause and osteoporosis, Premarin is the treatment of choice.  It is the most prescribed drug in the United States.  Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, the manufacturers of the drug, earns almost $1 billion each year from its sales of Premarin.

  Premarin, Politics, and the Public Health reveals how the FDA allowed Wyeth to exploit the generic drug approval process in a manner that virtually guarantees Wyeth’s monopoly on Premarin.  With health care providers increasingly turning to generic drugs to contain costs, generic manufacturers are increasingly eating into the market shares and profits of larger pharmaceutical firms.  Wyeth’s tactics exemplify the strategies being used by brand name pharmaceutical companies to manipulate the FDA bureaucracy and avoid generic competition.

“The availability of a less-costly generic version of Premarin would make it easier for women to stick with their treatment and permit many thousands more access to this drug,” Schatz said.  “But as long as a politicized FDA continues to ignore science, American women won’t have that option.”

CAGW is a 600,000 member organization dedicated to eliminating waste, inefficiency, mismanagement, and abuse in the federal government.

 

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