On March 16th, ASBM Chairman Harry Gewanter, MD testified before the Kansas Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee in support of HB 2107 which would modify the Kansas Pharmacy Act to permit the pharmacy-level substitution of interchangeable biosimilars. ASBM’s Advisory Board Chair Philip Schneider, Associate Dean of University of Arizona College of Pharmacy testified in support of HB 2107 before the House Health and Human Services Committee on January 24th.
HB 2107 would allow Kansas pharmacists to substitute interchangeable biosimilars in place of their reference products, provided that the physician is allowed to prevent a substitution they consider medically inappropriate for the patient by writing “Dispense as Written” or similar language on the prescription. HB 2107 also requires that the pharmacist inform the patient of the substitution at the time the biosimilar is dispensed, and communicate to the physician within 5 business days that a substitution has occurred. Similar legislation has been enacted in 28 states and Puerto Rico over the past several years.
Said Dr. Gewanter in his testimony:
HB 2107’s language reflects the opinions of the majority of biologic prescribing physicians throughout the United States. In surveys conducted by ASBM of 376 US physicians, over 4 out of 5 considered communication in the event of a biosimilar substitution as well as the authority to prevent a substitution by indicating ‘dispense as written’ on a prescription, ‘very important’ or ‘critical’. As noted in the supplemental information from the Kansas House Committee on Health and Human Services, the language in this bill is also supported by a number of patient and physician groups, pharmaceutical manufacturers and a national specialty pharmacy company
It is our view that HB 2107 appropriately reflects the importance of patient-pharmacist- physician communication and collaboration when biosimilar substitution is a possibility. Further, it maintains the patient-physician relationship and decision-making at the core of these important treatment decisions while also not placing an undue or onerous burden upon the pharmacist.