Very recently during the 64th Legislature in the State of Washington, House Bill 1675 was introduced relating to the prescription of biological products and interchangeable biological products.
The bill addressed the process through which a biosimilar that has been given ‘interchangeable’ status by the FDA can be substituted for the innovator biologic it mimics. The bill specifically detailed the communication requirements that must occur between a pharmacist and physician. The bill also called for the requirement of signage in a pharmacy that will inform a patient about the potential of substitution with explicit permission from their doctor. This topic is of heightened importance on the state level as the FDA gets ready to start approving biosimilar medications for use, nationally.
When House Bill 1675 came up for discussion, the Global Healthy Living Foundation worked with patients in Washington encouraging them to testify about their personal stake in the legislation. Our organization believes it is imperative that the patient perspective be included in these debates. We also will work to perfect House Bill 1679 and SB 5935 to include a prescriber communication proviso.) Shouldn’t patients be one of the loudest voices in a conversation about access to medications?
The Global Healthy Living Foundation supports legislation that increases transparency and communication between patients and their treatment teams. The core principles that we believe should guide substitution policies for biosimilars under state pharmacy laws include:
- a) Substitution should occur only when the FDA has designated a biologic product as interchangeable.
- b) The prescribing physician should be able to prevent substitution.
- c) The prescribing physician should be notified of any substitution.
- d) The patient, or the patient’s authorized representative, should, at a minimum, be notified of any substitution.
- e) The pharmacist and the physician should keep records of any substitution.
The Global Healthy Living Foundation is also the parent organization of CreakyJoints, the largest online patient community serving people living with arthritis, a group benefitting from biologic medications. In Washington, the CDC estimates that nearly 1.4 million adults have arthritis, which is about 20% of the general population
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