Finally, the ACR is examining and commenting on state-level biosimilar legislation, says Dr. Blumstein.
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“In some states, biosimilars can be substituted at the pharmacy for another drug that it’s biosimilar to,” says Dr. Worthing. “The ACR is advocating for pharmacists to [be required to] inform patients and prescribers of these substitutions, and we’re also asking for that to happen prior to substitution or as soon as possible after.”
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 36 states have drafted bills around biosimilars, but they vary in their notification or communication of substitution requirements.
National Advocacy as a Model
Overall, Dr. Blumstein would like to see ACR’s strong national advocacy reimagined for state-level efforts. “State legislation usually happens pretty fast,” he says. He believes the ACR’s Key Contact Program, which helps foster relationships between members and legislators, provides a solid foundation. It would require the identification of members willing and able to visit state capitols, sign on to editorials and more.
“We have a model of what it would run like [and] how it would look, and I think that would mirror the federal efforts,” Dr. Blumstein says.
Kelly April Tyrrell writes about health, science and health policy. She lives in Madison, Wis.
- Corlette S, Williams A, Giovannelli J. State efforts to reduce consumers’ cost-sharing for prescription drugs. The Commonwealth Fund Blog. 2015 Nov 16. http://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/blog/2015/nov/state-efforts-to-reduce-consumers-cost-sharing-for-prescription-drugs.