Amgen (AMGN) Goes to Battle Over Knock-Off Biotech Drugs (RHHBY)

January 29, 2013 11:50 AM EST
Amgen (Nasdaq: AMGN) shares are higher on the session amid reports that it, along with Roche's (OTCBB: RHHBY) Genentech, is lobbying Washington and multiple states to prevent smaller biotech from producing biosimilar forms of some of its blockbuster drugs.

The two are proposing bills which limit what pharmacists can substitute for brand name products. Proposals have been submitted in eight states this month, the NY Times noted today.

Support seems to be growing, with Virginia's House of Delegates passing one of the bills by a measure of 91 to six.

It's not all about profit though; the companies avow that knock-off forms of the brand name drugs aren't exactly the same, which is why they're called biosimilars rather than generics.

Biosimiar's aren't currently available in the U.S. market, though they have been available in Europe for a number of years. The ongoing battle between the two sides has diminished enthusiasm for companies to enter the biosimilar market, according to the Times. No timeline on when biosimilar makers will be able to sell in the U.S. was given.

Amgen is up 2 percent on the session, while Roche is modestly higher.

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