Subject: House Bill 279 - Prescription Notification Amendments
Date: Fri Feb 27 00:42:05 MST 2015
Good afternoon Representatives,
Thank you for the opportunity to provide you with the patient perspective of HB 279 – the Prescription Notification Amendments bill. There are multiple reasons for passing this bill. From the perspective of the Arthritis Foundation and the patients we serve, there is one primary reason. Patients have a right to know what medication they are taking. If one drug is substituted for a similar but not identical drug, the medical record is not complete or accurate if it does not reflect this information.
Biologic medications have changed the lives of many people with systemic, autoimmune forms of arthritis. They have enabled people to live full and productive lives where this was not possible before these drugs existed. As is the case with all drugs, as the biologics near the end of their patent protection, alternative drugs are developed that offer treatment at a lesser cost. With non-biologic drugs, these alternatives, known as generics, are interchangeable with their counterparts.
Biologics are different. Because they are made from organic materials, they cannot be replicated identically. Thus, the alternative drug to a biologic is called a biosimilar. It is similar but not exactly the same. Some of these biosimilars will be highly similar to their reference drugs, and the FDA will deem them “interchangeable biologics.” If dispensed one of these interchangeable versions, a patient will be taking a drug that while therapeutically interchangeable, is not the same drug.
Patients welcome the development of potentially less costly biosimilar alternatives. In the best interest of the patient, we simply ask that their providers are informed about a biosimilar substitution to a prescribed medication. On behalf of patients, I urge your support of HB 279.
Lisa B. Fall
President/Chief Mission Officer
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Arthritis Foundation | Great West Region
4424 South 700 East Suite 180
Salt Lake City, UT 84107
Serving those with arthritis in Alaska, Northern California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
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