Russ Roberts has been doing the weekly Econtalk podcast for 11 years now and often has pretty interesting guests.
One of the best in a long time was this week's episode with Robin Feldman talking about her new book Drug Wars: How Big Pharma Raises Prices and Keeps Generics off the Market
Ms Feldman is a law professor specializing in patent, IP and related law. The book looks at how the Brand (as she terms them) drug companies use patent law and FDA regulation to keep generics off the market.
For example, when a patent expires, the first generic company to file gets 6 months exclusivity via the FDA. The exclusivity begins when the drug goes on sale and Brands pay the generic company not to go into production. They can string the process out for years, preventing other generics from being approved.
Or, since to get approval, the generic company has to prove equivalence to the brand product. The brand companies often refuse to sell sample product to the generic. The generic may not even be able to get sample product, required to prove equivalence, through 3rd parties.
Or, as a patent is coming up for expiration, the Brand will file a "citizens petition" asking that a generic not be approved. Doesn't matter whether it is a good or bad reason, it holds up approval for 5 months. Then they file another.
On the other hand, even with the shenanigans, generics have been taking a big bite out of the market. Feldman says it is up to about 80% of all pharmaceuticals sold in the US. I think she said it was 30-40% in 1980 or so. So a bit of bright news.
Lots of other good stuff in the podcast. The book comes out the end of the month. It's on my list.
The book is here http://amzn.to/2tfpLRb
The Podcast is here http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2017/0 ... ation.html