Magazine article Drug Topics

New Generic Industry Leader Seeks to Expand Alliances

Magazine article Drug Topics

New Generic Industry Leader Seeks to Expand Alliances

Article excerpt

The new president of a soon-tobe-merged generic drug industry trade association wants to enlist additional allies for legislative battles with brand-name manufacturers. At the same time, Robert A. Waspe is seeking a meeting with his counterpart-also newly named-at the Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America, Alan F. Holmer, to discuss common concerns.

Waspe, a former official at Thrift Drug and the National Association of Chain Drug stores, was recently named president of the Generic Pharmaceutical Industry Association. He will be representing the combined forces of GPIA and the National Association of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers, whose consolidation is expected to be formally completed this month. But even with the beefed-up (and still unnamed) organization, Waspe acknowledges they'll never be a match for PhRMA on Capitol Hill alone.

"The key to the generic industry's success in future legislative battles is to broaden the constituencies of interest," he said at a press briefing last month. The American Association of Retired Persons is an example of a group that should have "a commonality of interests" with the makers of generic Rxs. Managed care organizations and insurance companies are others; so are community pharmacies.

"We have natural alliances with the retail [drugstore] industry we can move more aggressively to exploit," said Waspe, who served in senior legal and policy positions at Thrift and NACDS for 15 years. "Margins are better on generics than they are on branded products," he continued, adding that "pharmacists are looking at razor-thin margins in general, and generics certainly are one way to help those margins." So, Waspe is looking to form broad-based grassroots coalitions whose members can lobby Congress from a pro-consumer, pro-generics position. "Since we can't compete with [PhRMA] in the money game-i.e., how much money can you throw into your lobbying effort either through PAC [political action committee] contributions or the hiring of lobbyists-we're going to have to do it by getting those impacted constituencies activated," he asserted.

The generic industry's main lobbying effort now concerns changes in patent law wrought by GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs & Trade), an international treaty governing imports and exports. As part of GATT, Congress changed patent terms from 17 years from when the application was approved by the U. …

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