Association for Accessible Medicines reflects generic drugs' impact
WASHINGTON — The Generic Pharmaceutical Association (GPhA), which represents manufacturers of generic drugs and biosimilars, has changed its name to the Association for Accessible Medicines (AAM).
The association said Tuesday that the new name better reflects its mission: to make medications more accessible to the people who need them. As GPhA, the trade group had steadfastly promoted generic drugs as a vehicle for more affordable health care, given that 89% of U.S. prescriptions filled are generics but account for just 27% of overall drug costs.
“The association’s new identity will improve recognition that the generic and biosimilar medicines industry is one of the nation’s great health care success stories, and that competition from generics and biosimilars lowers the cost of medicine,” Chip Davis, president and chief executive officer of the Association for Accessible Medicines, said in a statement. “Our medicines drive savings, not costs, and we stand ready to work with the president, Congress, patient groups and others to create real and lasting health cost solutions.”
Davis has served as GPhA’s chief executive since August 2015. With the change to AAM, the association has elected Jeff Watson, president of global generics at Apotex Inc., as chairman, succeeding Mylan CEO Heather Bresch. The AAM board also elected Peter Goldschmidt, president of Sandoz U.S. and head of North America for Sandoz Inc., as vice chairman and Paul McGarty, president of Lupin Pharmaceuticals Inc. U.S., as secretary-treasurer.
In addition, the group said the AAM board of directors will expand to include representatives from all member companies.
“Our evolution to the Association for Accessible Medicines reflects an industrywide recognition that it is time to amplify the critical cost savings and access that generics and biosimilars make possible,” Watson stated. “I look forward to working with the AAM board and leadership as well as policymakers, regulators, patient advocates and other partners in support of patient-centered and market-based solutions designed to increase competition and have a positive impact on patients’ lives.”
The name change to AAM was announced at the GPhA Annual Meeting this week in Orlando, Fla. In tandem with the new identity, the association is launching a campaign dubbed “Keeping Medicines in Reach,” which aims to share stories of patients whose health and lives have improved because of access to generic medications.
AAM said the campaign’s first patient stories will be featured in broadcast, cable and digital advertising. They also are available on the association’s new website, AccessibleMeds.org, as well as via Twitter and Facebook.
“Patients featured in our campaign, like Raeanne, a single mother of three in New York City, rely on generics to maintain their families’ health and use the savings to put the rest of their lives in reach, like filling the gas tank, paying for rent and putting food on the table,” according to Davis. “Without generics, so many Americans — our family, friends and neighbors — would face incredibly difficult choices between their health and life’s other essentials.”
The Food and Drug Administration estimates that generic drugs typically cost 80% to 85% less than their branded drug counterparts, AAM reported. Other studies forecast that biosimilars, alternatives to brand-name biologic medicines, could save the U.S. health care system up to $250 billion in the next 10 years, the association said.