Opinion: STAT+: Incentives to spur repurposing of existing generics for novel uses would open a new paradigm in drug R&D

An effort to develop policies and incentives that support innovation with generics is worth pursuing to leverage the treasure trove of drugs that have been developed over the past decades.

The Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act of 1984, better known as the Hatch-Waxman Act, which enabled the regulatory process for generic drugs, has been remarkably successful. Generic drugs now represent about 90% of prescriptions, bringing substantial cost savings to the health care system.

The inventory of drug targets known to be modulated by generics has more than doubled over the past 20 years and is expected to reach somewhere between 250 and 450 drug classes (depending on precise target definition) by 2030, according to an analysis we conducted using PharmaProject and DrugBank databases.

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