Arlington, VA – Today, the Alliance for Safe Biologic Medicines (ASBM) applauds Governor Mike Pence of Indiana in signing legislation to ensure the safe substitution of interchangeable biologic medicines, approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“We commend Indiana in taking the lead to make patient safety the priority as life-altering biologics become more readily available to patients in the United States,” commented Richard Dolinar, M.D. Chairman of ASBM.
Senate Bill 262 amends Indiana pharmacy regulations for the treatment of biosimilars by maintaining the proper communication between pharmacists and prescribing physicians. Specifically, the new law provides that pharmacist must notify the treating physician within 10 days of the exact biologic product by manufacturer in order to attribute any adverse events that may occur. In addition, the pharmacist is required to retain a written record of the biosimilar substitution for a period of no less than two years. The pharmacists must also make sure the patient is aware of substitutions that occur.
“As a practicing endocrinologist, when it comes to treating patients, I need to know what medicines my patients are taking to properly manage disease,” continued Dolinar. “Without proper communication, I may not be able to address setbacks in treatment or accurately attribute adverse events and may lose valuable treatment time. This law ensures there are procedures in place to facilitate that exchange of information when biologic medicines are dispensed, while also expanding patient access to biologic medicines.”
Biologics are highly complex, advanced prescription medicines used to treat cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, MS and many other debilitating diseases. Unlike drugs derived from chemicals, biologics are manufactured using a unique process with living cells and for this reason no two biologics made from different cell lines are ever identical. When attempting to replicate biologics, their “copies,” known as biosimilars, are similar to, but not exact versions of the biologic they aim to replicate and are often mistakenly referred to as “generics.” Even the smallest difference in the structure of a biologic medicine and its attempted copy can have a significant impact on a patient.
ASBM has supported the FDA in its mission to safely bring biosimilars to the U.S. and will continue to work with state legislatures in advocating for the necessary substitution guidelines needed to ensure patient safety remains the priority.