(Washington, D.C.) – Congressmen Larry Bucshon, M.D. (R-IN-08) and Eliot Engel (D-NY-16) introduced the Advancing Education on Biosimilars Act of 2019 (H.R. 4400), a bipartisan House companion bill to legislation introduced earlier this year in the Senate by Senators Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH).
“As new biological and biosimilar product options become available, it is important that physicians have current information on these therapies in order to choose the best treatment for their patients. I believe information and education on these new and complex treatments for providers and patients will lead to healthy competition in the biologic and biosimilar product space, and ultimately help to lower the cost of these important drugs for patients.” – Dr. Bucshon
“Biologics are some of the highest priced medications on the market,” said Rep. Eliot Engel. “Yet many health care providers, let alone patients, do not know that cost-effective alternatives known as biosimilars exist in some cases. I’m pleased to join Congressman Bucshon on this commonsense legislation, which will help close this education gap—helping my constituents in the Bronx and Westchester get some relief from the epidemic of high cost drugs.”
“I am glad Congressmen Bucshon and Engel introduced companion legislation to our biosimilars education bill in the Senate,” Senator Enzi said. “This legislation would help to drive down drug costs by increasing confidence in cheaper prescription drug alternatives like biosimilars. This can be a great educational tool to help lower health care costs.”
“Increasing Granite Staters’ and Americans’ awareness of biosimilars will help more people save on prescription drug costs,” Senator Hassan said. “I am pleased that Representatives Engel and Bucshon have introduced their version of this important bipartisan legislation in the House, and I will continue working across the aisle to move this bill forward in the Senate.”
Advancing Education on Biosimilars Act of 2019
Like generic pharmaceuticals, biosimilars can offer patients more affordable treatments and cures than the reference biologic. However, the United States has not seen the same level of use of biosimilars compared to other nations around the world. While there are a number of reasons that have led to a lower level of uptake, education and awareness for health care providers and patients about biosimilars should not be one of them. The Advancing Education on Biosimilars Act of 2019 would require FDA to create a public website to educate patients and providers about biological products and biosimilar products. This website will include materials about which biologicals and biosimilars may be interchangeable, and processes for reporting adverse events that pose a risk to patient health and safety. To help increase uptake of biologics and biosimilars, this bill would require development of continuing education programs for health care providers such as doctors and nurses.