GPhA Applauds Kathleen Sebelius Nomination As HHS Secretary

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The Generic Pharmaceutical Association (GPhA) released the following statement today from GPhA President and CEO Kathleen Jaeger regarding the nomination of Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius to the position of Secretary of Health and Human Services and the naming of Nancy-Ann DeParle to serve as Director of White House Office for Health Reform.

"GPhA applauds the nomination of Governor Kathleen Sebelius as Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). With the myriad of health care issues facing our nation, it is critical that we have a proven leader like Governor Sebelius who can work in a bipartisan manner to get things done. Governor Sebelius's strong track record of working to reduce health care costs by, among other things, increasing access to affordable medicines in Kansas, makes her an excellent choice to help guide the President's health care reform efforts.

"GPhA also commends the selection of Nancy-Ann DeParle as the Director of the White House Office for Health Reform. Her outstanding expertise in health care as well as her strong working knowledge of how Washington works makes her the ideal person to assume this important position.

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"It is clear that controlling health care costs will be an important issue confronting our new HHS Secretary as she works with Congress to reform our health care system and put our economy back on track. For twenty five years, generic medicines have saved consumers, payers and state and federal governments tens of billions of dollars a year. We look forward to working with the Obama Administration and Congress in two key areas which will result in even greater cost savings – creating a workable approval pathway for safe and affordable biogenerics and increasing funding for the Office of Generic Drugs (OGD) to get approved generic medicines to consumers.

"Last week, President Obama agreed that bringing biogeneric competition into the marketplace sooner rather than later through an exclusivity period similar to the Hatch-Waxman model would generate cost savings. Moreover, it will get affordable lifesaving medicines to patients who are struggling now more than ever to pay the exorbitant costs of brand biopharmaceuticals. There is growing recognition that the success of Hatch-Waxman in sparking competition while also fostering innovation can be replicated in the creation of a workable biogenerics approval pathway.

In addition to bringing biogenerics to consumers, it is also critical that the Obama Administration and Congress increase access to safe, effective and affordable generic medicines by making a strong investment in FDA's Office of Generic Drugs. The scientists and reviewers at FDA are doing an extraordinary job, but their resources have been severely limited. It is time to give FDA the resources it needs to ensure that patients get safe and effective medicines they need in a timely manner. The generic pharmaceutical industry is committed to working with the Administration, Congress and regulators to help guarantee the continued safety of America's drug supply.

"With the tremendous work that lies ahead for our next HHS Secretary, GPhA hopes the Senate will confirm Governor Sebelius quickly so she can get to work to strengthen the health of the American people."

GPhA represents the manufacturers and distributors of finished generic pharmaceuticals, manufacturers and distributors of bulk active pharmaceutical chemicals, and suppliers of other goods and services to the generic drug industry. Generics represent 67% of the total prescriptions dispensed in the United States, but only 20% of all dollars spent on prescription drugs. For more information about the industry, visit www.gphaonline.org.

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