Congressman Hank Johnson

Representing the 4th District of Georgia

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Rep. Johnson Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Lower Prescription Prices

July 26, 2019
Press Release

Congressman works to streamline path for biosimilar drugs to make it to market, consumers with the Affordable Prescriptions for Patients Through Improvements to Patent Litigation Act

Congresswoman Roby of Alabama cosponsors bipartisan bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Seeking to bring prescription drug prices down by streamlining and making it more cost effective for generic drug makers to get their products to consumers, Congressman Hank Johnson (GA-04) and Congresswoman Martha Roby (AL-02) today introduced the Affordable Prescriptions for Patients Through Improvements to Patent Litigation Act, which would amend the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act of 2009 (BPCIA) – H.R. 3991.

Johnson, chair of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet (the IP Subcommittee), offered the amendment to help simplify the process of bringing biosimilar drugs to the marketplace that should result in lower prices for consumers.

“Unfortunately, the BPCIA has not yet done for biosimilars what the 1984 Hatch-Waxman Act did for small-molecule drugs,” said Johnson. “And that is make it easier for generics to get the marketplace quicker and more efficiently and thereby make them more affordable at the pharmacy counter. My amendment seeks to strengthen the BPCIA, not undo or undermine it.”

“One of the top issues I hear about from my constituents in southeast Alabama is that prescription drugs are too expensive,” said Rep. Roby, Ranking Member of the IP Subcommittee. “That is why I am proud to join Chairman Johnson in introducing the Affordable Prescriptions for Patients Through Improvements to Patent Litigation Act. This legislation will help put an end to patent gamesmanship that prevents lower-priced generics from entering the market and bringing lower prices to consumers.  I look forward to continuing working on finding ways to bring down the cost of prescription drugs for all hardworking Americans.”

Johnson said while the BPCIA was designed in part to expedite the pathway for new versions of previously marketed biologic drugs, the current regime for addressing patents that may cover biosimilar drugs -- which are much more complicated and costly to bring to marker than small-molecule drugs -- is like a clogged artery.

“By streamlining and simplifying the patent litigation process, we hope to help boost an already robust biosimilar application process and help to expeditiously make these life-saving drugs affordable to every consumer.” 

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Date Roll Call Bill Vote
11/21/2019 642 H.R.1309 Aye
11/21/2019 641 H.R.1309 Aye
11/21/2019 640 H.R.1309 Aye
11/21/2019 639 H.R.1309 Aye
11/21/2019 638 H.R.1309 Aye