CITIZENS AGAINST GOVERNMENT WASTE CONDEMNS ILLINOIS HEALTH DEPARTMENT DECISION ON GENERICS | Citizens Against Government Waste

CITIZENS AGAINST GOVERNMENT WASTE CONDEMNS ILLINOIS HEALTH DEPARTMENT DECISION ON GENERICS

Press Release

For Immediate ReleaseContact:  Elizabeth Wright or Jim Campi
August 26, 1998

           (202) 467-5300

 

(Washington, D.C.) – Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) today condemned an Illinois Department of Public Health Drug Product Selection Program Technical Advisory Council decision to disallow a generic substitution of Warfarin Sodium for DuPont Pharmaceutical’s Coumadin, a leading anti-coagulant.  The decision places a multimillion dollar burden on consumers, without any perceptible health or safety benefit.  It follows a pattern of similar attempts by brand name pharmaceutical companies to try to limit access to generic drugs in other states.

The advisory council’s decision came despite testimony from a number of experts in the field of generic bioequivalence, as well as a presentation by Dr. Roger Williams, Deputy Director for Pharmaceutical Science at the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.  Dr. Williams reiterated the Agency’s position that therapeutically equivalent generic products provide patients with the same safety and clinical results as the brand name product and can be interchanged without restrictions.

“Conclusive scientific and clinical proof was offered that should have resulted in council approval of generic substitution for this critical therapy,” said Elizabeth Wright, CAGW Health and Science Director.  “Instead, the advisory council ignored the evidence offered by the FDA and voted to support drug monopolies.  With more than $20 million in annual sales in Illinois alone, efforts by DuPont to restrict access to generics is not about protecting patients – it’s about protecting DuPont’s market share.

“This council is responsible for providing access to safe, effective and more affordable medicines to citizens in Illinois.  Unfortunately, they turned their back on the taxpayer and consumer with this decision.”

CAGW has been active for more than a year in state-by-state battles to preserve access to generic medicines, particularly in the area of Narrow Therapeutic Index drugs.  The group has been battling a nationwide anti-consumer initiative by DuPont Merck Pharmaceuticals, which has been seeking to prevent substitution of its brand name Coumadin ever since a generic version was approved by the FDA in 1997.

 

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