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FROM THIS EPISODE

The debt limit deadline is Tuesday, and Washington is a weekend away from a spending and deficit bill acceptable to both parties. We update last-minute efforts to avert an unprecedented economic crisis.
Also, a wave of expiring patents on prescription drugs will have a major impact on the pharmaceutical industry and on US consumers. Prices for Lipitor and Plavix alone may drop by 80 percent, great for both employers and workers. But where will the money to invent new medications come from? We hear how the drug industry gets multiple patents on a single drug and "pays for delay" to hold off generic replacements.

Banner image: Pam Harvey fills a prescription at Adams Discount Pharmacy in Glenside, Pennsylvania. Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images

Making News President Obama Urges Compromise…Again 23 MIN, 42 SEC

In the absence of legislation to hold off a debt-ceiling crisis, President Obama said today the issue's more urgent than ever, and repeated his call for Americans to demand action. He urged them to keep the pressure on Washington by contacting their congressional representative and urging them to find a bipartisan compromise "that can pass both houses of Congress" and that he can sign. As Speaker John Boehner struggled to round up enough House Republicans, Harry Reid, the leader of Democrats in the Senate said he's willing to compromise."

 

Guests:
Lori Montgomery, Washington Post (@loriamontgomery)
Major Garrett, National Journal (@MajoratNJ)
Steve Kornacki, Salon.com (@SteveKornacki)
Binyamin Appelbaum, New York Times (@BCAppelbaum)

Main Topic Expiring Patents, Drug Prices and the Hazy Market for Generics 27 MIN, 16 SEC

Patents are about to expire on two of the world's best-selling prescription drugs. Prices for cholesterol-fighter Lipitor and the blood-thinner Plavix are likely to drop by 80 percent when they're replaced by generics. But that's not all. The drug industry will be faced with an unprecedented wave of expiring patents in the next few years. What will the expiration of patents on many other drugs mean for Big Pharma? How is the industry fighting back?  Will consumers get the benefits they deserve?

Guests:
Jonathan Rockoff, Wall Street Journal
Lori Reilly, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America
Richard Feinstein, Federal Trade Commission
Robert Billings, Generic Pharmaceutical Association

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