Legislation sponsored by Senator Robert Singer that would make it more affordable for patients to get the treatment they need by allowing pharmacists to substitute biologic medications for biosimilar, or generic, forms won approval by the full Senate.
Legislation sponsored by Sen. Robert Singer would allow pharmacists to substitute biologic medications for biosimilar, or generic, forms. (Flickr)
Biologics are an increasingly relied on form of medication created from living cells and used to treat cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, MS and other debilitating diseases. Within the industry, a generic version of a biologic is referred to as a biosimilar.
“Biologics are an important tool in treating severe diseases but they can be very costly as well,” said Singer (R-Monmouth, Ocean). “Allowing pharmacists to substitute for an approved biosimilar will present a more affordable alternative and allow more patients to get the treatment they need.”
The healthcare industry is currently waiting on the federal Food and Drug Administration to approve the first biosimilar as interchangeable with a biologic.
Under S-1705 a pharmacist could substitute a biologic with an FDA approved interchangeable biosimilar biological product. The bill requires the pharmacist to notify the prescribing physician of the substitution within five business days after dispensing the medications and provide the name and manufacturer of the product.
“This legislation makes sure the needed safeguards are in place so that the health care community can take advantage of these advances in medicine as soon as the first approved products become available,” Singer added.