BIO Urges Governor Pence to Sign Bill That Ensures Patient Access to Interchangeable Biologic Medicines
Washington, D.C. (February 26, 2014) – The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) and the Indiana Health Industry Forum (IHIF) call upon Governor Pence to sign critical legislation to create a pathway for the substitution of interchangeable biologic medicines.
The Indiana State House of Representatives passed SB 262 by an overwhelming vote of 87-5 yesterday. This action follows the Indiana Senate’s passage of identical legislation last month by a vote of 38-11.
The policies outlined in SB 262 align with BIO’s principles on biologic substitution, therefore BIO supports this important legislation and encourages Governor Pence to sign the bill when it reaches his desk.
Although similar bills have been addressed in other states, SB 262 enjoys the support of a broad coalition of both biologic and biosimilar manufacturing companies. This bill includes transparent communication on all biologic medicines dispensed in order to maintain a consistent and complete medical record. This legislation represents a significant step forward, ensures transparency and communication between patients and their treatment teams, and is fully consistent with the BIO principles.
While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees approval of biologic medicines and designation of interchangeability, policies governing whether one product may be substituted in place of a doctor's prescription and whether a pharmacist must inform patients and doctors are covered by state law. SB 262 seek to properly preserve patient access to accurate prescription information, maintain incentives for innovation and promote a competitive market for biologic therapies. BIO will continue to advocate for full transparency in the substitution process as patients and their physicians should have the right to know what biologic medicine the patient receives from the pharmacy. Bills such as this, that properly addresses the important aspect of physician communication, represent model legislation necessary in all 50 states to address this cutting-edge technology.
The FDA is currently developing a pathway for the development and approval of safe and effective interchangeable biologic products in the United States. However, there is still a major role for states to play in ensuring substitution practices remain transparent and physicians remain engaged in the process.
Interchangeable biologics are not generics. Even slight changes to a biologic drug can change its properties entirely. Unlike conventional generic medicines, interchangeable biologics are not the same as the drugs they seek to substitute. In fact, two biologics made using different cell lines and differing manufacturing processes will rarely, if ever, be exactly the same. Those suggesting interchangeable biologics and generics are the same are wrong.
Patients and physicians managing chronic conditions are generally aware of which biologic treatments work best in their unique circumstances. Providing information about substitution to patients and physicians allows everyone involved the opportunity to discuss past treatment experiences so that any possible unexpected issues can be better understood and avoided.
As the Indiana General Assembly continues to address issues related to biologic substitution, BIO and IHIF encourage policy makers to continue to put patients first.
The diverse members of the Indiana Health Industry Forum generate the collective voice of the state’s health and life science industry. The Forum connects key stakeholders to enhance business networks, advocate for member interests, develop workforce skills, and provide strategic vision in the interest of growing the state’s health industry economy and reputation. IHIF is the Indiana affiliate of the Biotechnology Industry Organization. To learn more, please visit www.ihif.org.