Texas Becomes Latest State to Shut Down Legislation to Slow Biosimilar Access
WASHINGTON, DC (May 29, 2013) — The Generic Pharmaceutical Association (GPhA) applauds the Texas state legislature for blocking a bill (S.B. 190) that threatened biosimilar access for patients seeking newer, more affordable versions of biologic medicines.
“The Texas legislature refused to bend to the will of biotech goliaths Amgen and Genentech,” said Ralph G. Neas, President and CEO of the Generic Pharmaceutical Association. “Against great odds, key leadership stood firmly in favor of patient health and cost-savings by stopping this legislation right in its tracks.”
GPhA strongly opposes legislation that would create barriers to biosimilar medicines, preempt Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidance on the new medicines, and dramatically reduce potential savings for consumers, the government and the private sector.
"While we will not rest until the last gavel bangs in the remaining state legislatures, the totality of rejection of Amgen and Genentech-sponsored provisions over the past five months shows that once legislators have all the facts, they will block measures that would restrict future access to biosimilars," said Neas.
As states seek solutions to rising drug costs, biosimilars hold the promise of much-needed relief. In 2011, Texas spent more than $126 million on biologic medicines for its state Medicaid program and this number will continue to grow. Indeed, according to recently issued Express Scripts projections, the U.S. would save $250 billion from 2014 to 2024 if just 11 widely used biologics had biosimilar versions available.
Texas joins Florida, Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Nevada and Washington state in refusing to pass burdensome biosimilar legislation. Virginia and Utah have passed such laws, but they are constrained by a sunset clause, which most experts believe will render the restrictive sections moot before biosimilars come to market. Arkansas referred biosimilar implementation legislation to a study committee for further review. Legislation currently is under consideration in California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Oregon and Pennsylvania. Of the 18 state legislatures that have introduced biosimilar measures, only North Dakota has passed intact the version supported by Amgen and Genentech.