On Thursday, November 2, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced they would reverse a policy determining how providers are paid for administering biosimilar drugs under Medicare Part B. A biosimilar is a type of medication that is “similar” to a biologic reference product, approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA); biosimilars offer patients the promise of more affordable treatment options available on the market to address their disease.
Over the past twenty-four months, the Arthritis Foundation and other patient organizations have expressed our collective concerns with CMS’s biosimilars reimbursement policy and encouraged them to reverse it. This policy reversal is a crucial access to care victory for the arthritis community since there are two biosimilars on the market to treat arthritis. The regulatory change will foster competition and lower the cost of expensive biologic treatments, while encouraging innovation of new therapies – ultimately creating a robust marketplace of biosimilars. Read on to learn more about this important win for patients.
Continue reading Arthritis Foundation Plays a Role in CMS Biosimilars Policy Reversal
On behalf of the more than 3.6 million New Yorkers (including 18,400 children) with doctor-diagnosed arthritis, the Arthritis Foundation thanks Governor Andrew Cuomo for signing biosimilar legislation into law. The new law, A.7509/S.4788, enhances patient access to new and innovative medications while ensuring that pharmacists are communicating critical and up-to-date medical information about patients to physicians.
Continue reading Victory in New York! Biosimilar Legislation Signed Into Law
We applaud Maryland Governor Larry Hogan for joining 28 other states in creating a pathway for the substitution of biologic medications with biosimilars by signing the Pharmacists – Substitution and Dispensing of Biological Products bill into law.
Biologics are life altering drugs for people with arthritis and are very complex products made with living cells. Because of this complexity they are expensive. Biosimilars, are a new class of drugs that are similar to biologics. They have the potential to lower medication costs.
Continue reading Victory for Maryland! Biosimilar Bill Signed by the Governor!
Iowa has recently joined 27 other states that have passed biosimilars legislation. On behalf of the 619,000 adults (plus 2,800 children) in Iowa with doctor-diagnosed arthritis, we’d like to thank Governor Branstad for signing House File 305 into law on Friday, March 10, 2017.
The bill allows Iowa pharmacists the ability to dispense safe and potentially less expensive biologic medications to patients, by substituting an FDA approved interchangeable biosimilar for a prescribed biologic product. The law also requires that the prescriber and patient be notified when there is a substitution.
Continue reading Victory in Iowa: Biosimilar Legislation Signed Into Law!
For years now, many arthritis patients have utilized biologic medications to great effect. Biologics have allowed those with arthritis, as well as many other chronic diseases, to stabilize their condition and help them better quality lives. Now, due to innovation, new medications are coming to market which could provide arthritis patients with more, and potentially less expensive, options. These new medications are called “biosimilar” medications which are similar to, but not exact copies of name brand biologics.
Continue reading Victory in Montana! Governor Bullock Signs Biosimilar Substitution
Imagine that your pharmacist substituted the biologic drug prescribed by your physician for a different drug, an interchangeable biologic product, without your physician being informed. For many people in Ohio who are taking biologic drugs, this scary scenario was a potential reality.
Continue reading Ohio Biosimilar Substitution bill signed into Law by Governor Kasich
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.
Continue reading Biosimilar Substitution Victory in Hawaii!
Devon Salasin is a junior at Penn State University and a talented snow skier. So good, that she recently placed 23rd out of 107 skiers at the National Collegiate Alpine Race. But skiing wasn’t always fun or easy for Devon.
In 2011, Devon was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA). Overnight she went from a carefree kid pursuing her snow ski racing passion to a kid burdened with pain, swollen and deteriorating joints, and fatigue.
Continue reading Pennsylvania Arthritis Advocates Achieve Biosimilar Substitution Success!
Use of her hands meant everything. It’s how she saved lives. It’s how she provided for her family.
Susan Behen, MD, trained in general surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital and held a specialty fellowship in colon surgery. For years she used her hands to perform all sorts of abdominal and laparoscopic surgeries. Then came the diagnosis – psoriatic arthritis.
Continue reading Arthritis Foundation Advocate Testifies Before U.S. Food and Drug Administration
School is out, so now what do you do to engage your kids? On June 29, a number of parents took their families to Harrisburg, PA, to participate in the 2016 Pennsylvania Advocacy and Access Day. Some of the youth were already pros having attended previous advocacy days and our Advocacy Summit in Washington, DC. For others it was a first time experience.
Continue reading Young Advocates in Pennsylvania Speak Out