Law Professor Testifies Before Congress on Ways to Drive Down Prescription Drug Costs

By Tom McLaughlin

On Capitol Hill, Congress has begun to tackle an issue that many Americans have painfully known for years: prescription drug costs are out of control and only getting worse. In response, the legislature is demanding policy changes that spur greater competition in the marketplace, move drugs to the market sooner, and help drive down costs.

If and when those laws change, Michael Carrier, a distinguished professor at Rutgers Law School in Camden, is among the legal scholars that Americans can thank.

Carrier testified that the committee could focus first on the access to drug samples from brand manufacturers.

Carrier, who is widely regarded as a foremost authority on pharmaceutical antitrust law, appeared March 13 on a panel before the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Health to share his expertise. Watch Carrier’s full testimony.

The committee is considering bills aimed at curbing the ability of brand manufacturers to restrict access to drug samples, which are used by generic manufacturers to ensure that their products are identical to brand-name products.

“Drug prices are too high, and one reason that they are too high is that brand companies play all sorts of games to delay generic entry,” Carrier testified, citing tactics used by brand manufacturers such as paying generic manufacturers to delay entry into the market, denying samples that generics need to enter the market, and abusing the regulatory system. “As ranking member [Michael] Burgess pointed out, we are going to ruffle some feathers when we say that the brand companies cannot do this sort of conduct.”

Carrier testified that the committee could focus first on the access to drug samples from brand manufacturers. He noted that, under the Hatch-Waxman Act, a 1984 U.S. federal law encouraging the manufacture of generic drugs, generic companies were supposed to obtain samples from brand companies, which would enable them to enter the market quicker.

“It doesn’t have to replicate the costly clinical trials that brand companies have to do; the generic can do it a lot more easily,” he said. “The problem is that when a brand company denies a sample that the generic needs, the generic can’t even get to the starting line.”

The Rutgers Law School professor is one of the most cited antitrust scholars in the country.

Carrier also supported legislation that would prevent brand drug companies from maintaining monopoly prices by settling litigation in a way that delays generic entry for years.

Carrier – who received a special recognition during his testimony from Rutgers Law School alumnus U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., chair of the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce – is regarded as one of the nation’s most influential legal scholars according to a recent ranking based on how often his research is referenced by other academics.

The Rutgers Law School scholar, who is frequently cited in court opinions, was named the third-most-cited antitrust professor in the country according to data from scholarly impact ratings by a team of researchers led by Gregory Sisk.

Carrier has also been interviewed regularly by numerous media outlets, being quoted more than 1,500 times, including in ABC News, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, C-SPAN, The Economist, ESPN, Forbes, Fortune, Fox News, NBC News, The New York Times, NPR, Reuters, Sports Illustrated, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post.

He is the co-author of the leading treatise on intellectual property and antitrust law, IP and Antitrust Law: An Analysis of Antitrust Principles Applied to Intellectual Property Law (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business 2016), author of Innovation for the 21st Century: Harnessing the Power of Intellectual Property and Antitrust Law (Oxford University Press 2009, paperback 2011) and the editor of Critical Concepts in Intellectual Property Law: Competition (Edward Elgar Publishing 2011). He has also written more than 115 book chapters and law review articles in leading journals.

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