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High-tech drugs would get 12-yr market protection

WASHINGTON (AP) - A House committee has agreed to grant 12 years
of market protection to high-tech drugs used to combat cancer, Parkinson's and other deadly diseases.

Though expected, the 47-11 vote Friday in the House Energy and Commerce Committee was a defeat for AARP and the White House. They hoped to give patients faster access to generic versions of costly
biotech medicines like the blockbuster cancer drug Avastin.

The powerful biotech and pharmaceutical industries had pushed for the 12-year market exclusivity period.

A Senate committee has agreed to the same 12-year period as part of a sweeping health overhaul bill. That means that if Congress ends up passing health legislation the measure would likely become law.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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