Big news for our arthritis community in Kentucky! On April 13, 2016, Gov. Matt Bevin (R – KY) signed Senate Bill 134 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.
The many letters, calls and visits made by Arthritis Foundation Advocates in Kentucky played a significant role in the passage of SB 134.
Biologics are carefully engineered and 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. The final bill language requires that the provider’s office be notified when there is a substitution.
“Attending my first KY Advocacy and Access Day, it was heartwarming to connect on a personal level with the key legislators who were actively involved with this bill and its ultimate passage. To be able to communicate with them, representing not only my concerns, but especially those of the many arthritis sufferers we represented, was key to the ultimate success we all achieved,” says Bill Goulet, Arthritis Foundation advocate. “We were able to explain the importance of provider notification as just one of the key components of the delicate balance involved in working with biologic medications and biosimilars at an individual patient level.”