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NCPA: Proposed Pa., legislation would hinder patients’ access to biosimilars, burden pharmacists
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Pending legislation in the Pennsylvania state legislature is raising the eyebrows of several industry members, including the National Community Pharmacists Association, whch stated that the legislation in its current form would "severely limit access to more affordable medications, vastly increase overall healthcare costs to Pennsylvania businesses and citizens and add cumbersome reporting requirements on healthcare providers."
In a statement and letter sent to the Pennsylvania legislature, B. Douglas Hoey, CEO of the NCPA warned against S.B. 405.
"On behalf of our patients, community pharmacists strongly oppose S.B. 405 in its current form. The legislation is specifically intended to pad the profits of certain large pharmaceutical manufacturers, while sticking the bill to patients and employers and burdening independent community pharmacists with unnecessary regulations.
"Millions of patients have benefitted from cost-savings generally associated with generic prescription drugs and community pharmacists strongly support their appropriate use. Likewise, a new wave of interchangeable biologic products, or biosimilars, is expected to enter the U.S. market in future years and offers significant savings potential to patients and the sponsors of healthcare plans, such as employers.
"S.B. 405 is intended to thwart that outcome by burying pharmacists and other healthcare providers in needless red tape to deter the prescribing and dispensing of cost-saving, interchangeable biosimilars in place of much costlier brand name versions. These new drugs will be required to go through an extensive review and approval process by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is charged with approving medications. The FDA has publicly warned against legislation similar to S.B. 405 in other states due to the potential to undermine biosimilar cost savings, as well as the agency's proven drug approval efforts."
The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has noted that its position is similar to NCPA’s and it also opposes S.B. 405