Prescription Drugs

Drug Makers Losing Legal Battle Against Generic Alternatives

Too bad

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The year 2013 began with the promise of a state-by-state, coast-to-coast battle between the makers of brand-name medications derived from living organisms—known as biologics—and those who to make and sell copies of those drugs.

The battle has turned into a rout, at least for now. In state after state, the brand-name makers—led by the pharmaceutical giants Amgen and Genentech—have been unable to convince state legislatures to require pharmacists to notify doctors (and sometimes patients) when they substitute generics for brand-name biologic drugs. Manufacturers of copies fiercely opposed such a requirement, which they said would put them at a competitive disadvantage.