Bills increase access to affordable drugs in the US and the Philippines

Home/Policies & Legislation | Posted 14/05/2021 post-comment0 Post your comment

In the opening months of 2021, a bill was proposed to make more biosimilars accessible to a greater proportion of the US state of Minnesota’s residents. In addition, a bill was passed in Wisconsin that will give pharmacists the ability to recommend cheaper drug options. And, in the Philippines, a bill has been filed to encourage the use of biosimilar drug products. 

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The Minnesota bill
In late February 2021, Jennifer Schultz (DFL-Duluth) and State Senator Carla Nelson (R-Rochester) sponsored a biosimilars bill in Minnesota. The aim of this is to broaden access to biosimilars by making it a requirement that health plans and pharmacy benefit managers cover all versions of biological agents, including biosimilars. The bill comes in response to payer policies that can reduce choices and force providers and patients to use more costly versions of a given biological. It is hoped that the bill would give every patient access to the most affordable and effective treatment options without compromising safety.

If the bill is successful, it is proposed to go live on 1 January 2022. It would be the first law of this kind to be enacted.

The Wisconsin bill
In Wisconsin, pharmacies were banned from offering patients cheaper drugs if they are not covered by their insurance plan. However, on 16 March 2021 a bill was passed to regulate pharmacy benefit managers in Wisconsin. It is hoped that this will stop pharmacy benefit managers from signing agreements with pharmacies that only allow pharmacists to recommend drugs covered by a person's insurance plan. The bill will ensure that pharmacy benefit managers are licensed and registered with the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance.

The Philippines bill
In the Philippines, Joey Salceda, the House Committee on Ways and Means chairperson and representative of Albay’s second district, has filed a bill to encourage use of biosimilar drug products. Salceda hopes that this Biosimilars bill (House Bill 9261) will improve access to biosimilars in the Philippines and make the public more aware of these cheaper alternative products. To do this, the bill will increase the range of choices for patients and healthcare providers. It will require the Secretary of Health to maintain a list of biosimilar products and their prices. It also mandates that the Secretary of Health educates and increases awareness of biosimilar products.

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To further enhance the objectives of GaBI in sharing information and knowledge that ensure policies supportive of safe biosimilars use, we are pleased to announce that we will be launching a new section on GaBI Online and GaBI Journal, the ‘Latin American Forum’ (in Spanish) featuring the latest news and updates on research and developments in generic and biosimilar medicines in Latin America.

Register to receive the GaBI Latin American Forum newsletter. Inform colleagues and friends of this new initiative.



Para fomentar los objetivos de GaBI sobre la difusión de información y conocimiento sobre las políticas de apoyo que garantizan el uso seguro de medicamentos biosimilares, nos complace anunciar el lanzamiento de una nueva sección en GaBI Online y GaBI Journal, el ‘Latin American Forum’ (en español), que presentará las últimas noticias y actualizaciones en investigación y desarrollo sobre medicamentos genéricos y biosimilares en Latinoamérica.

Regístrese para recibir el boletín informativo GaBI Latin American Forum. Informe a colegas y amigos sobre esta nueva iniciativa. 

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