Arthritis Advocacy in Illinois

Advocates in Illinois Get a Big Win for Biosimilars

Illinois SB 455Thanks in large part to the many letters, calls and visits made by Arthritis Foundation Advocates in Illinois, on July 30, Gov. Bruce Rauner (R – IL) signed Senate Bill 455 into law.

The law creates a pathway for the introduction and use of biosimilars into the mainstream marketplace. Biosimilar medications have the potential to provide safe and effective treatment to people with arthritis at a potentially lower cost than name-brand biologic medications.

Biologics are carefully engineered, and they can never truly be duplicated. This means that even biosimilars deemed interchangeable are not generic replicas of original biologics. Nationwide, states are now enacting legislation to create a pathway for biosimilars because current laws on generic substitution do not have jurisdiction on biosimilars.

Because both biologics and biosimilars are complex treatments requiring careful oversight, any changes or substitutions require communication and transparency in all pharmacy transactions. Senate Bill 455 focuses on when and when and if a pharmacist should communicate with a doctor if a substitution has been made.

“Because biologic and biosimilars treat debilitating diseases, doctors need to be aware of what exactly is being dispensed by pharmacists,” says Mark Guimond, director of state legislative affairs for the Arthritis Foundation. “The open lines of communication between doctors and pharmacists will ensure that patients are receiving the best care related to their particular disease. Senate Bill 455 has the means to both provide access to biosimilars and to provide an additional tool in achieving a better quality of life.”

Thank you to all of our Arthritis Foundation Advocates and Champions of Yes for making Senate Bill 455 a reality for the people of Illinois!

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