Bruce Downey, CEO of Barr Labs

This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, June 12, 2003, that was edited for clarity. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.

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TERRY KEENAN, GUEST HOST: Well, generic drugs, as Carl just mentioned, in the national spotlight today, getting a very big push from the president, and that’s got to make my next guest very happy. He’s Bruce Downey, the CEO of generic drug giant Barr Laboratories.

And looks like you folks are the big winners here.

BRUCE DOWNEY, CEO, BARR LABS (BRL): Well, I think the American people are the big winners. We serve them with low-cost, high-quality products, and this legislation will make it easier for us to get our products in their hands. So I think we’re all winners today.

KEENAN: The big pharmaceutical companies who spend billions on research and development will still have their patent on the drug.

DOWNEY: Of course.

KEENAN: Seventeen years?

DOWNEY: It’s actually 20 years from the date they apply for patent, and they should have that protection. They do invest a lot in R&D, and we need both a healthy brand industry and a healthy generic industry, and this legislation balances the scales, I think, in a very appropriate way.

KEENAN: How is this going to speed up the process of getting generic drugs to the market because I know now only less than 10 percent get approved on the first time around.

DOWNEY: Well, actually, there are two things at work.

One, the commissioner of the FDA has initiated some programs that we think will shorten the review and approval time at FDA, and that’s more of an administrative issue.

The legislation that was passing today, actually, deals with the interface of the time period when patents expire and generics enter the market, and there’s been some room for manipulation at that interface, and this legislation reduces that ability, again will speed drugs to the marketplace.

KEENAN: So, for people out there dependent on a lot of these drugs, some seniors paying more than a thousand dollars a month even for their prescriptions, what are some of the drugs that are going to come off patent and be available generically in the near future, do you think?

DOWNEY: Then there are a number of other large products coming off. I mean it’s really too numerous to mention, but it’s an exciting time for our industry and, I think, for the country.

KEENAN: And you say the lobbying is going on even at this hour, right?

DOWNEY: From your waiting room, we were on the phone with our counsel about some last-minute language and proposals in the legislation.

KEENAN: But you’re basically pretty confident that the blueprint, as Carl Cameron outlined, will...

DOWNEY: Yes. If you think about the whole process, you know, the current law satisfactorily deals, from our perspective, with about 90 percent of these cases. The regulation the new FDA commissioner put in place recently takes care of about half of the rest. This legislation almost all of the remainder.

So, you know, 99 percent of the cases, we should look for speedy approval of generic drugs and easy access to the public. Our next big issue is generic bilogics, and we go to work on that tomorrow.

KEENAN: All right. Always an issue to lobby for and fight for.

Thanks. Thanks for joining us.

DOWNEY: My pleasure. Good to be here.

KEENAN: Bruce Downey, the CEO of Barr Pharmaceuticals.

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