Pay for delay is a deal under which a company holding a patent on a drug pays a generic manufacturer to delay its launch of a cheap copy of the drug. While it might make business sense to pay for delay the drug industry should think about what it might lose in pursuing such a strategy. The losses include a continuing erosion of trust between drug makers, consumers and customers. While prescription drugs only account for 10% of every healthcare dollar spent the drug industry is going to continue to be in the spotlight and has to bow to the inevitable realities of marketing healthcare today.
The latest news is that some drug companies are refusing to sell branded products to generic manufacturers who need to copy them to manufacture generic drugs. While there is no law that requires drug companies to comply with such a request it is being perceived as the powerful drug industry throwing up more roadblocks to lower cost drugs. It also doesn’t help when the Pharma Manufacturers Association has “no comment” on this topic.
Then there are some drug makers who like to play both sides of the line. Amgen lobbied Congress to keep patent protection on one of its drugs while at the same time announcing that they are going to be making biosimilars of other drug companies top drugs. Do they really think that consumers and customers are that dumb ? In fact pressure is now being brought to remove the patent protection addition in Congress.
Maybe the drug industry doesn’t understand the word transparency and maybe they don’t understand that consumers on the internet have ways of “finding shit out” ? If the drug industry continues to make mistakes like these their attempts to win over patients and consumers with social media and DTC marketing are going to be seen for what they are; a guise to say we care on one hand while picking our wallets with the other.
Keep in mind that not all drug companies are doing this and there are some socially responsible drug companies who do understand but when one makes a mistake like this it reflects on the whole industry.