- The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), a major industry trade group, approved five biopharmaceutical research companies for full membership, the association announced Friday.
- The trade association is the leading voice representing the biopharma industry before the national and state governments. The association advocates for public policy solutions to address price controls, intellectual property, and R&D regulation.
- Alexion, AMAG, Horizon, Jazz, and Teva will join 55 other companies as full members of the trade association. But Teva's addition sparked some controversy since the company is the world's largest generics company, and the association has traditionally defended member companies from generic challengers. The approval may symbolize a recent trend in the industry where brand-name companies are increasingly diversifying their portfolios to include generics or biosimilars.
PhRMA's approval of Teva was likely a strategic move to recognize a biopharmaceutical industry whose companies are increasingly blurring the lines between brand-name or generics-only portfolios.
Just last week, Amgen found itself arguing for approval of their biosimilar copies of rival biologics one day, only to push back on rivals' biosimilar efforts the next. Similarly, Novartis' subsidiary Sandoz has been a major player in the development of biosimilars and generics.
While Teva is the world's largest generic drugmaker, it also has a brand-name division to defend.
The generic versus brand-name dance is an essential market force for the industry, and PhRMA has long made it clear it opposes any sort of "market distortions," or government regulation. And many brand-name companies end up battling generics makers like Teva in court over the market entry of copycat drugs.
"The addition of these biopharmaceutical research companies will help guide us as we advocate for patient-centric policies to enhance the private market and address costs holistically," the association said in Friday's press release.
Some critics of the industry argue, however, that brand-name companies often work to keep drug prices high by delaying the release of new technologies (thereby extending patent protection), or by agreeing to deals with generic companies which slows the introduction of generic copies.
Gilead, for example, recently won a case in California that had accused the company of delaying the release of TAF technology until its TDF technology patents were near expiry.
And though the legal battles and negotiations over pricing typically take place in blue states and administrations, presumptive presidential-nominee Donald Trump has directly blamed the biopharmaceutical industry for blocking price negotiations.
With Teva in the fold, PhRMA can now claim to represent a more competitive market and bolster its now more vocal defense of the industry. And it's a win for Teva, too, as the company will now have access to the associations' resources and a voice in its policy advocacy.
"Teva's unique business model will contribute to the development of the future of health care in research, innovation and access to health care for the benefit of the patients in the USA and around the world," said CEO Erez Vigodman in a statement.