NCPA opposes Penn. biosimilar bill as too costly

October 9, 2014

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) strongly opposes a Pennsylvania bill that would only allow biosimilar substitution by a pharmacy with permission of the prescriber.

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) strongly opposes a Pennsylvania bill that would only allow biosimilar substitution by a pharmacy with permission of the prescriber.

Senate Bill 405 states that biosimilar substitution can occur if the prescriber does not designate that substitution is prohibited. The proposal requires that the pharmacist notify the patient of the biosimilar substitution before dispensing the medication and also notify the prescriber within 72 hours of dispensing the specific name of the biosimilar and its manufacturer.

Related content: PCMA, NCPA blast biosimilars legislation

“If enacted, S.B. 405 would place unreasonable and unnecessary requirements on pharmacies for the interchange of interchangeable biological products (biosimilars), while increasing overall costs to the healthcare system and decreasing access to care,” wrote Matthew J. DiLoreto, senior director of NCPA’s State Government Affairs, in a letter to Pennsylvania’s state legislative leader Mike Turzai.

 

DiLoreto noted that in the Public Health Service Act, interchangeable products can be substituted for the reference biologic product without the prescriber’s intervention. “Therefore, NCPA believes that if the FDA allows interchangeability between products, pharmacists should be able to automatically substitute a biosimilar,” DiLoreto stated.

The Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED) supports the legislation that establishes requirements for pharmacist substitution of biosimilars. On their website they express concern about biosimilar substitution.

“Due to the nature of these drugs, many physicians are concerned about the potentially serious patient safety implications when they write a script and a pharmacist substitutes a biosimilar for the prescribed medication,” according to PAMED’s Sept. 25 statement.

“S.B. 405 will ensure that when these new drugs are approved and hit the market, Pennsylvania’s laws are up to date and will appropriately address them,” the Society concluded.