Head of US generic drugs association to step down

* Resignation effective June 30

* Comes after biotech drugmakers secure 12-yr exclusivity

LOS ANGELES, May 4 (Reuters) - Kathleen Jaeger, the chief lobbyist for the generic drugs industry during the debate over U.S. healthcare reform, is resigning as head of the Generic Pharmaceutical Association, the trade group said on Tuesday.

Generic drugmakers lost out in the recently passed reform legislation which gave makers of branded biotech drugs 12 years of exclusive rights to market and sell a product before generic copycats can enter the market.

Generic firms, which can sell drugs cheaper because they do less expensive research and development work, had lobbied for an exclusivity period of five to seven years.

Jaeger’s resignation is effective June 30 and she will remain an adviser to trade group through the end of 2010.

Last month, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Inc TEVA.TA, the biggest generic drug company in the U.S. market, said it would leave the lobbying group by the end of June.

The Israel-based company said in a letter to the trade association that it would advocate for its interests outside of the group, which it said was not meeting its potential.

Reporting by Deena Beasley; Editing by Bernard Orr