Pharmacists: Pennsylvania's S.B. 405 is Bad News for Patients, Health Care Payers

PRESS RELEASE

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Oct. 7, 2014) — B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA

, CEO of the

National Community Pharmacists Association

(NCPA), issued the following statement and

letter to the Pennsylvania legislature

warning against S.B. 405, legislation pending in the Pennsylvania state legislature, the current session of which is entering its final days:

“On behalf of our patients, community pharmacists strongly oppose S.B. 405 in its current form. The legislation is specifically intended to pad the profits of certain large pharmaceutical manufacturers, while sticking the bill to patients and employers and burdening independent community pharmacists with unnecessary regulations.

“Millions of patients have benefitted from cost-savings generally associated with generic prescription drugs and community pharmacists strongly support their appropriate use. Likewise, a new wave of interchangeable biologic products, or biosimilars, is expected to enter the U.S. market in future years and offers significant savings potential to patients and the sponsors of health care plans, such as employers.

“S.B. 405 is intended to thwart that outcome by burying pharmacists and other health care providers in needless red tape to deter the prescribing and dispensing of cost-saving, interchangeable biosimilars in place of much costlier brand name versions. These new drugs will be required to go through an extensive review and approval process by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is charged with approving medications. The FDA has publicly warned against legislation similar to S.B. 405 in other states due to the potential to undermine biosimilar cost savings as well as the agency’s proven drug approval efforts.

“This is one health care proposal which state lawmakers should set aside and follow the time-tested medical adage — ‘First, do no harm’.”

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The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA®) represents the interests of America's community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 23,000 independent community pharmacies. Together they represent an $88.7 billion health care marketplace, dispense nearly 40% of all retail prescriptions, and employ more than 300,000 individuals, including over 62,000 pharmacists. To learn more, go to

www.ncpanet.org

, visit

facebook.com/commpharmacy

, or follow NCPA on Twitter

@Commpharmacy

.