Precisely what actions will have to made by pharmacists in order to meet state regulations when dispensing a new class of drugs and whether that’s good idea to increase the safety of patients or a waste of money has moved to the center of an ongoing legislative lobbying battle.
A bill that would need pharmacist to notify physicians and other prescribers when they substitute a class of drugs known as biologics with substitutes known as biosimilars which is currently being discussed in the state legislature.
Biologics are grown from living cells, unlike traditional medicine, which are synthesized in labs. This difference in chemistry means that each biologic is different, according to industry representatives who debate that’s a vital reason why physicians should know each time a pharmacy makes a change of a biosimilar for a biologic. Biosimilars are akin to name-brand biologics but less expensive. While the government is waiting to certify that some biosimilars are interchangeable with biologics, they will not be chemically identical in the same way that generic drugs can be identical to name brand drugs.
The bill, A-2477/S-1705, is supported by the biotech industry, which views these notices as a precautionary step to ensure that doctors are aware that a change has been made.
Bill sponsor and supporter Pamela R. Lampitt stated the measure would allow the introduction of biosimilar while protecting patients “This is about patient safety,” she stated. “This is about a physician, a prescriber, knowing which product has been dispensed to their patient.”