Senator Mark Norris
9A Legislative Plaza,
Nashville, Tennessee 37243-0232
This website was not created nor is it maintained at public expense.
©2017 Mark Norris
|For Immediate Release||Contact: Melissa LaBonge|
|April 21, 2015||[email protected]
PATIENT ADVOCATES TESTIFY IN SUPPORT OF BIOSIMILAR LEGISLATION
Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris and Chairman Cameron Sexton Meet with Patients
Nashville, TN – Patient advocates with the Arthritis Foundation testified before the House Health Subcommittee in support of House Bill 572 and also attended the full House Health and Senate Health and Welfare Committees to support House Bill 572 and its Senate counterpart, Senate Bill 984.
If passed and signed into law, this legislation will allow for Tennessee physicians and patients to have access to new and potentially less costly biosimilar therapies deemed “interchangeable” by the FDA. However, even the slightest variation between an interchangeable biosimilar and the innovator biologic means that these medications can have different dosing, side effects and reactions. As such, this legislation will also ensure that pharmacists communicate to prescribing physicians any biosimilar substitutions at the pharmacy level.
While at the Capitol testifying their support, patient advocates also met with several legislators including bill sponsors Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris and House Health Committee Chairman Cameron Sexton to share their stories and thank them for their leadership on this legislation.
Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris said, “This puts Tennessee in the forefront of states fighting to give constituents real access to affordable health care. By facilitating substitution of the most modern medications, we enhance more cost effective treatment which benefits providers and patients alike.”
House Health Committee Chairman Cameron Sexton said, “These pharmaceutical products are a lot of times the last line of defense against certain medical conditions and are life-changing for the individuals who are on them. Anything we can do to help improve communication between healthcare providers and patients, availability and cost savings will greatly aide our state and families.”
Dewayne Bryant said, “Without these life altering medications, we can’t imagine how she would be today. As her parents and caretakers, we want to be informed if there is a substitution of any medication she currently takes‐especially when they are as complex and sensitive as biologics.”
Arthritis Foundation patient advocate Kelly Rach added, “At the end of the day, this is about patient safety and having up‐to‐date medical record information. I want to be informed as a patient, and I always want my physician informed if there is a substitution of any medication I’m on, especially medications as complex and sensitive as biologics.”
Claire Carrico also voiced her support for the bill, saying, “As a mom, no one loves or cares for my daughter Madeline like I do and I am very involved in her arthritis treatment, along with her amazing rheumatologist. A simple one-time communication from the pharmacist regarding what is actually being administered to my child should be absolutely reasonable, especially when approximately only one out of every 1,400 prescriptions will be affected.”
With such complex treatment plans as those for chronic diseases, physicians must know which medication their patient is taking in event that any side effects occur. As such, it is imperative that physicians and patients are aware when an interchangeable biosimilar is substituted for the original biologic, by communicating the specific biologic dispensed. Not only will this communication maintain an accurate medical record, but it will also allow physicians to closely monitor the care and progress of their patients.
Biologics and their biosimilar counterparts hold great promise, but we also must protect patient safety by ensuring pharmacist‐prescriber communication anytime a biosimilar substitution is made. House Bill 572 and Senate Bill 984 will create a clear standard for communication that puts patient safety at the forefront of medical care. The Arthritis Foundation and our patient advocates want to recognize Senate Majority Leader Norris and Chairman Sexton for their outstanding leadership on this biosimilar legislation.
The legislation has passed the House and Senate and now goes to Governor Haslam for his signature.