On April 7th, ASBM sent a letter to Minnesota lawmakers opposing a bill which could potentially increase costs for patients who receive biologic medicines. The bill, HF 1516, was introduced last session but not ultimately adopted. ASBM led a coalition of patient organizations that raised concerns with the bill last spring. From the letter:
It is our view that HF 1516/SF 990, while intended to promote competition and lower prices, may result in unintended negative consequences- such as actually increasing, rather than lowering, drug costs for Minnesota patients…
In effect, this bill requires a pharmacy benefit manager or health carrier that covers ANY biologic product in a given class, to reimburse ALL products in that class, regardless of its actual cost to the payer. The availability of biosimilars currently places downward pressure on net prices by forcing reference product manufacturers to discount their products heavily in order to compete. By requiring health plans to cover all approved products in a class (regardless of net cost), it effectively creates an incentive for all manufacturers to raise their prices.
While we strongly support legislation that is written with the goal of realizing cost savings through competition between multiple biologic products, we believe that HF 1516/SF 990 undermines this objective by removing current incentives to compete on price and will ultimately reduce rather than promote affordability of biologics.
Read ASBM’s full letter on HF 1516 here.