WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate passed bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Bill Cassidy, MD (R-LA) to enhance education about biosimilar drug products in an effort to increase competition and lower the cost of biologic medicines.
Biologics are complex products that may be used to treat serious or chronic conditions, such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and certain cancers. Biosimilars are highly similar to and have no clinically meaningful differences from brand biologic drugs, but are manufactured by different companies. Independent studies have estimated that biologics could save Americans potentially $54 billion over 10 years in health care costs.
“Our bipartisan legislation will help lower the cost of health care by educating more Granite Staters and Americans about biosimilars - an under-the-radar alternative to expensive brand name drugs,” Senator Hassan said. “I am glad that the Senate passed this important bipartisan bill to help lower costs for life-saving care, and I urge my colleagues in the House to follow our lead.”
“Passing this bill in the Senate is huge for lowering prescription drug costs. Biosimilar medications have no clinically meaningful differences from name brands, but they can be just a fraction of the cost,” said Dr. Cassidy. “This legislation improves awareness of these alternatives and works to lower costs.”
The Senators’ bipartisan legislation would provide educational materials to patients and providers to help improve confidence in the safety and effectiveness of these FDA-approved products. Improved confidence in biosimilars could lead to increased use, which in turn could increase health care savings.
Senators Hassan and Cassidy have previously worked together to help lower the cost of health care, and recently led successful efforts to include a provision in the year-end package that was signed into law to help end the absurd practice of surprise medical billing. Additionally, in 2019, President Trump signed into law bipartisan legislation introduced by Senators Hassan and Cassidy to close a loophole in the Medicaid rebate program that results in big pharmaceutical companies overcharging taxpayers. The bipartisan legislation will save taxpayers approximately $3.1 billion over the next 10 years.