Increasing Access to Treatment Options Through Biosimilar Legislation (from APhA)
This blog post was originally posted on the Cancer Action Network of the American Cancer Society and the full article can be viewed by clicking the button at the end of the excerpt.
Access to quality care has long been one of our top priority issues. To increase access to potentially lifesaving treatments, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) advocates for legislation that enhances access to biosimilar drugs, which offer safe and effective treatment options for cancer patients. This week, ACS CAN released new materials aimed at educating cancer patients, lawmakers and advocates on the benefits of biosimilars and highlighting ACS CAN’s continued work to advance policies that increase access to treatment options.
Biosimilars are close copies of biologic therapies (biologics), a class of drugs that are produced by living organisms. Due to the complex structure of biologics, biosimilars are held to a different approval standard than generic drugs. While generic drugs are exact chemical copies of the original drug, biosimilars are developed to be highly similar copies that are as safe, pure, and potent as the original biologic. Biosimilars are tested to ensure they produce the same effect as the biologic, so patients can be confident they are receiving the best care possible. In addition to offering more options for safe and effective cancer treatment, biosimilars offer potentially less costly options for medications and increase competition within the biotechnology sector.
The new educational materials break down the science behind biosimilars and detail the process through which the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviews and approves biosimilar products. The materials also educate cancer patients on the role that biosimilars may play in their treatment process – for example, when their health care provider might prescribe them a biosimilar product, or how, depending on state law, a pharmacist may provide an interchangeable biosimilar as a substitute for a prescribed biologic.
About the Biosimilars Council
The Biosimilars Council, a division of the Association for Accessible Medicines (AAM), works to ensure a positive environment for patient access to biosimilar medicines. The Biosimilars Council is a leading source for information about the safety and efficacy of more affordable alternatives to costly brand biologic medicines. Areas of focus include public and health expert education, strategic partnerships, government affairs, legal affairs and regulatory policy. More information is available on our about page.
AAM is driven by the belief that access to safe, quality, effective medicine has a tremendous impact on a person’s life and the world around them. Generic and biosimilar medicines improve people’s lives, improving society and the economy in turn. AAM represents the manufacturers and distributors of finished generic pharmaceuticals and biosimilars, manufacturers and distributors of bulk pharmaceutical chemicals, and suppliers of other goods and services to the generic industry. Generic pharmaceuticals are 90 percent of prescriptions dispensed in the U.S. but only 23 percent of total drug spending. Additional information is available at www.accesiblemeds.org.