|[September 04, 2013]
SB 598 - Biosimilars Bill Secures Final Approval in California State Legislature Awaits Governor's Signature
SACRAMENTO, Calif. --(Business Wire)--
A bill updating California's pharmacy substitution law to allow greater
patient access to more affordable FDA-approved biologic medicines is
headed to the Governor's desk after today's overwhelming passage in the
Senate in a 30 to 2 vote.
Senate Bill 598, authored by Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo), will allow
pharmacists to substitute a new class of biologic medicines, called
"biosimilars" for a brand biologic when the biosimilar is deemed
interchangeable by the FDA and require that a patient's physician is
notified which biologic medicine was dispensed. While the majority of
biologic medicines are dispensed and administered by physicians, a small
percentage of patients receive them through pharmacies.
The bill has overwhelming bi-partisan support from lawmakers in both the
Assembly and Senate and from diverse groups throughout the state
including the California Medical Association and hundreds of patient
advocate, life-science, business and labor organizations, all f whom
value its cost-saving and life-saving benefits.
"California policymakers recognize that biosimilars may be approved for
the U.S. healthcare market as early as 2014 and without an update to
state law patients will not have full access to them," said Joseph
Panetta, president and CEO of BIOCOM, representing more than 500 life
science companies, including medical device, diagnostics, biotechnology
and biofuels companies, universities, and basic research institutions.
"SB 598 is timely legislation that provides a balanced framework
governing the use of biosimilars and gives doctors and patients more and
better choices. All three of California's policy-based life science
trade associations, representing virtually all of California's life
sciences companies, strongly support the bill and ask for the Governor's
signature," said Panetta.
"As one of the world's largest manufacturers of generic medicines,
Actavis supports the bill because it will serve to increase confidence
in biosimilar products among patients, physicians and pharmacists,
thereby enhancing their acceptance and accelerating the savings they
will produce," said Paul Bisaro, president and CEO of Actavis, (formerly
Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc.), the world's third largest generic
pharmaceutical company, developer of biosimilar pharmaceutical products
and a California employer with facilities in Corona that employ
approximately 800 people.
"The Western States Council of Sheet Metal Workers wants to ensure that
our members receive the best health care available while having
available all reasonable cost containment mechanisms," stated Scott
Wetch, legislative advocate of the Council. "We believe our health care
plan can provide access to biologics and biosimilars and better protect
our members with the prescriber notification requirement set forth in
this bill and we encourage the Governor to sign it," said Wetch.
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