With new, innovative arthritis medications coming to market, patients with arthritis may soon have access to potentially less expensive biosimilar medications. These are medications that are similar but not exact copies of name brand biologics.
However, imagine that, without your knowledge, your pharmacist substituted the biologic medication prescribed by your doctor with a new interchangeable biosimilar. Residents of Hawaii no longer have to worry because last week, Hawaii Governor David Ige signed a package of bills into law that will, among other things, require communication to the patient and physician when a biosimilar substitution occurs. This will result in a complete and accurate patient medical record, which is vital for monitoring these drugs once they come to market. And, if physicians do not want a substitution to occur, they can stipulate that the prescription be dispensed as written.
“This is another great victory for people who have arthritis,” said Krystin Herr, state director for the Arthritis Foundation’s Advocacy & Access program. “Having access to these game-changing medications as well as having a high level of communication when a medication is switched is vital to battling this disease and ensuring patients are able to live life to its fullest.”
Congratulations to the fantastic Advocates in Hawaii for their work on getting biosimilar substitution legislation signed into law to help the residents of Hawaii living with arthritis have greater access to all medications!