Magazine article Drug Topics

GPhA Bullish on Generic Industry's Future

Magazine article Drug Topics

GPhA Bullish on Generic Industry's Future

Article excerpt

Unification of the generic industry was the rallying cry heard at the first Spring Meeting of the newly formed Generic Pharmaceutical Association (GPhA), which debuted last month in Tucson. Trumpeting the call for unity was William Nixon, GPhA's president and CEO.

"My first priority was to unite the [generic] industry," said Nixon. Likening himself to a manager of a sports team, Nixon used sports strategy metaphors to describe what GPhA's "game plan" was going forward.

Nixon said that, from a strategic standpoint, the time was right to form a new unified generic association. He pointed to the fact that, in the past, the generic industry had been represented by three different trade groups, which resulted in "diluted resources" and a "fragmented voice in public policy" in Congress and at the Food & Drug Administration, and "scattered influence in legislative and executive branches [of government]." Nixon stated that this separatism resulted in a "reactive agenda with sporadic victories."

The formation of a single association has been on the generic industry's agenda since five years ago, in early 1996, when plans were developed to merge the Generic Pharmaceutical Industry Association (GPIA) with the National Association of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers (NAPM). While that merger did not take place at that time, GPIA did merge with another generic association, the National Pharmaceutical Alliance (NPA), forming GPhA, an association made up primarily of generic manufacturers, bulk drug suppliers, and distributors. This past January, at NAPM's annual meeting, association executives announced its intentions to become part of GPhA.

However, it wasn't until GPhA's first general meeting last month that the deal was inked, truly uniting the generic pharmaceutical industry into one association.

The formation of a united front for the generic industry could not have come at a better time, Nixon said, citing a "a tidal-wave of patent expirations adding up to $50 billion between 2000 and 2010." Other reasons he believes it is fortuitous for the generic industry to come together as one voice relate to several political undercurrents in Washington, including "momentum to modernize HatchWaxman," controversy over the proposal of a Medicare prescription drug benefit, and "a Senate 50/50 split and narrow margin in the House."

Nixon's game plan for the new association is an ambitious one. Stating that it is time to be more offensive rather than defensive as historically had been the case, he said it is time to "level the playing field for competition" and increase generic utilization by 10% by "building confidence in equivalent pharmaceuticals" while saving consumers some $11. …

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